Intimate Privacy and Consent

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Recent research shows that one in five Australians are victims of image-based sexual abuse - whether that’s upskirting, downblousing, so-called “revenge porn”, “sextortion” or threats of abuse.

One in ten Australians have had a sexual or intimate of them posted online or distributed without their consent. Additional research suggests four in five Australians want this to be a crime.

For too long, the ACT has been out of step with community expectations, and with other states and territories, when it comes to protecting the rights of victims of this despicable crime.

Addressing intimate image abuse has been a priority for the Greens. We took this issue to the last election, tabled a petition in March 2017, and put forward draft legislation to ensure that all Canberrans could have a say on this important reform.

Following intense negotiation, bargaining and consultation by the Greens, in August 2017 the ACT Legislative Assembly passed an amended Crimes (Intimate Image Abuse) Amendment Bill 2017. As a result, it is now a criminal offence to distribute, or threaten to capture or distribute, intimate images without a person’s consent. 

To complement this work, Caroline intends to address outstanding issues relating to other invasion of privacy offences and relevant sexual offences in due course.

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The Greens believe it's important that we all understand what consent means.

Under ACT criminal law, consent is defined by when it is taken away, rather than when it is given.

This needs to change. A clear, unequivocal and freely given "yes" should be communicated between partners before sexual activity begins. Consent should not only be implied or inferred.

With the legislation I tabled in April 2018, we are now a step closer to changing the definition of consent in the ACT. These potential changes to the law are intended to help our community feel safer by painting a well-defined picture about what sexual assault is and is not, and what consent is and is not.

Learn more by reading my Canberra Times op-ed here.