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WA becomes latest state to issue revenge porn crackdown
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WA becomes latest state to issue revenge porn crackdown

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Western Australia’s state government has announced a “landmark” legal reform which aims to stamp out revenge porn.

WA Attorney-General John Quigley says the new Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Bill 2018, introduced into state parliament, will seek to amend the Criminal Code (WA) to “create a new offence relating to the non-consensual distribution of intimate images”, with perpetrators to face jail time of “either 18 months or three years” and/or a maximum fine of $18,000.

The A-G explained that the new law will not make it a criminal offence for consenting parties to exchange intimate images, only to circulate them further without the consent of the person depicted in the image.

Mr Quigley noted that 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”.

“Despite the impression created by the term ‘revenge porn’, image-based abuse extends beyond the ‘relationship gone sour’ scenario where a jilted ex-lover shares an intimate image without consent to seek revenge,” he said.

“The non-consensual distribution of intimate images is a degrading and dehumanising practice that violates personal privacy and dignity. It is a form of abuse, and should be labelled as such.”

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In his submission, Mr Quigley pointed to local research produced by RMIT, which found that image-based abuse is perpetrated for a variety of reasons including control, intimidation, sexual gratification, monetary gain and social status building. The RMIT found it is also used to threaten, harass, objectify, humiliate, shame, and instil fear.

“The damage that image-based abuse can cause is profound. Victims experience damage to their reputation, employment prospects, educational attainment, interpersonal relationships and mental health,” Mr Quigley said.

“The new law sends an unambiguous message to the community that image-based abuse is serious, harmful and will not be tolerated.”

This latest revenge porn measure comes after NSW introduced legislation to tackle the offence. Victoria and South Australia have implemented similar measures.

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of editorial at Momentum Media and editor of its legal publication, Lawyers Weekly. 

She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).

Email Emma on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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