Revenge porn laws pass State Parliament

Stock image.
Stock image.

PEOPLE who share intimate images of someone without their permission will face up to three years in jail under new laws passed yesterday in WA.

The Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Bill makes the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, sometimes referred to as ‘revenge porn’, a crime which attracts jail time of either 18 months or three years and/or a fine of up to $18,000.

The new law will not make it a criminal offence for consenting parties to exchange intimate images, only circulating them further without the consent of the person in the image.

It also empowers courts to make a rectification order requiring a person charged with the new offence to remove or destroy the images in question, and ensures that existing threat offences apply to a threat to distribute an intimate image.

In the case of someone under 16, the law says they cannot legally consent to an image of themselves being shared.

The law aims to strike a balance between protecting young people from this harmful behaviour, and not unduly criminalising them.

“This form of abuse is serious, harmful and completely unacceptable, and that’s why we’ve introduced tough penalties for those who feel they can violate another individual’s privacy and dignity in this way,” Attorney-General John Quigley said.

“Under the new laws, perpetrators could spend up to three years behind bars.

“Image-based abuse also extends beyond the scenario of ex-partners sharing an intimate image without consent to seek revenge.

“It has emerged as an increasingly common feature in family and domestic violence cases, used as a means of coercing and controlling the victim, and it is also used to facilitate so-called ‘sextortion’.

“Criminalising this degrading and dehumanising practice is long overdue and it will no longer be tolerated.”