If You Share Someone's Nudes Without Their Consent You Can Now Go To Jail
The government is cracking down on revenge porn.
Australians who share revenge porn could spend up to seven years in prison under new laws that passed through parliament on Thursday.
"The Turnbull government is acting to combat this violation of a person's freedom and dignity," communications minister Mitch Fifield said in a statement about the laws, which would enact a maximum jail term of five years for first time offenders and seven years for repeat offenders.
"The new laws will actively discourage potential offenders through both civil and criminal penalties, which complement existing state and territory laws."
Individuals who share intimate images of people without their consent will be hit with fines of up to $105,000 under the legislation, which passed through the Senate in February.
Shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland said Labor welcomed the government "coming to the party on the need for a specific criminal offence" on revenge porn.
"We hope today’s progress brings the victims of image-based abuse some comfort as they see the results of their advocacy, and know they have helped protect their fellow Australians from this serious form of abuse," Rowland said in a statement last week.
Revenge porn no longer refers solely to the illegal distribution of intimate photos taken over the course of a relationship, but to any unauthorised public release of an intimate image.
One-in-five Australian adults who took part in a 2017 Monash University study say they have had images or videos of a nude or sexual nature taken without their consent; 11% say these images or videos were shared; and 9% said they received threats that the images would be shared. The 4,200 respondents were aged from 16 to 49.
In January, BuzzFeed News found Australian men were sharing pictures of women, in some cases without consent, on Craigslist.
One Melbourne man posted a picture of a woman he had presumably slept with and asked to "swap pics of young sluts" and another wanted to "show off pics" of his wife in exchange for pictures of other men's wives.
"It's hot knowing they are unaware and being seen in such a way," the man wrote.
In 2014 it became a criminal offence to maliciously distribute intimate images in Victoria without the subject’s consent. Offenders can be jailed for up to two years for distributing images and for up to a year for threatening to distribute images, but other states have lighter penalties than Victoria.
Here is more information about the current legal status of revenge porn in your state or territory. The office of the e-Safety Commissioner has more information on how to collect evidence, report the image to the social media service or website, report to the commissioner, engage help from police, seek legal assistance and get support to ensure your mental health and physical wellbeing.