Non-consensual sharing of sexual or intimate images unacceptable: Discussion paper released

Today ACT Greens spokesperson for women Caroline Le Couteur MLA has announced the release of a discussion paper and exposure draft legislation to address privacy and technology-facilitated abuse in the ACT. In calling for extensive community consultation, Ms Le Couteur emphasised the importance of community voices and experience in addressing both technology-faciliated sexual abuse and the non-consensual sharing of intimate or private sexual images. 

In announcing the tabling of the Crimes (Invasion of Privacy) Amendment Bill 2017, ACT Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur reaffirmed the need for comprehensive laws to address invasion of privacy in the Territory.

“The non-consensual sharing of sexual or intimate images is simply unacceptable,” Ms Le Couteur said.  “Sadly, we know that this despicable behaviour has impacted the lives of thousands of Canberrans. The ACT is now out of step with the rest of Australia in addressing these concerns.

“Our new technology with ‘selfies’, webcams and cameras everywhere as part of our phones makes it easy to get more images, with or without the knowledge and consent of the person pictured.  Social media and the internet make these images easy to share and distribute widely.

“This is a complex issue that requires strong laws that take into account the need for broader privacy protections and rapid changes in technology. This legislation looks to a range of progressive ‘best practice’ models, both at home and abroad, to provide extensive protections for victims of these appalling crimes.”

The Greens’ legislation will address a range of privacy invasion behaviours, including: the non-consensual taking or creating of intimate images; non-consensual sharing or distribution of images; and making threats to share these images without a person’s consent. The legislation also includes a new power for the Courts to order the takedown of non-consensual images where required.

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.

It comes after Ms Le Couteur tabled a community petition in the Assembly in May on the criminalisation of so-called ‘revenge porn’.

“We must act to ensure that we act to protect Canberrans in step with community expectations,” Ms Le Couteur added. “Today we welcome insights and feedback from key stakeholders in our Canberra community on this important issue.

In putting forward this exposure draft legislation today, we look forward to working with both the ACT Labor and Canberra Liberals to enact these important protections without further delay.”

Community submissions can be made until 28 July via the following link. (xxx) Ms Le Couteur’s explanatory statement and draft legislation are attached to this email.