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NSW to criminalise Revenge Porn

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Published under Law Reform, News, Offences

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September 22, 2016

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The NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton announced on 5 September 2016 that the NSW Government will seek to criminalise what is colloquially known as “revenge porn”. Revenge porn can be categorised as “the distribution of intimate or sexually explicit images without the consent of the person, with the intention to cause harm”. The reason why it has been labeled as “revenge” is due to jaded ex-partners, seeking retribution on their ex-partner. The purpose of the new laws is to protect vulnerable people from intimate images being shared.

At the present time, only Victoria and South Australia have specific “revenge porn” legislation. Offenders in Victoria who are found guilty of this offence can face a maximum of 2 years imprisonment for actually distributing the images and face a maximum of 1 year for threatening to distribute images. Whilst, in South Australia the maximum penalty in 2 years imprisonment or a $10,000 fine. NSW do currently have section 587C of the Crimes Act 1900, publishing indecent articles, as a possible avenue to prosecute the distribution of indecent material, they have yet to follow suit and enact specific legislation for “revenge porn”

With the rapid rise of social media and ease of sharing files on the internet, the NSW Government have sat up and taken notice of the ever increasing prevalence of “revenge porn”. The Attorney General pointed to the ease of uploading images through ones mobile phone as a real concern, as most people would now have access to a phone with internet capability. The issue was most recently brought to light, when a website that exposed Australian school girls from more than 30 schools.

The NSW government will start discussions on a range of issues which affect this topic, including the definition of “intimate” images, how they are shared or distributed and what penalties should apply, including how the offence should apply to children and young people. There is a push for NSW to follow South Australia’s lead and implement fines and/or a term of imprisonment as the maximum sentence.

About the Author

John is partner of Armstrong Legal and head of the Criminal Law Division. The experience John possesses, being a high quality mix of defence and prosecution skills, together with his team at Armstrong Legal, mean you can be certain of accurate, dependable and practical advice on how your matter can dealt with.

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