South Australian Government moves to make ‘revenge porn’ a crime

South Australia proposed revenge porn laws

DISTRIBUTING nude images of an ex-partner without their consent could soon be a crime under a State Government proposal.

Attorney-General John Rau has released draft laws which would criminalize “revenge porn” — the distribution of intimate and pornographic images without consent.

Mr Rau said the proposed laws would also address concerns about the potential for young people who “sext” — sending or receiving sexually explicit images — being listed on the Child Sex Offender Register.

Under the proposal, prosecutors and courts would be given added “flexibility” to consider the context of a young person’s behavior when deciding whether they should be listed on the Register.

The push to ban revenge pornography followed a recent in which intimate images of more than 400 Adelaide women were published on a US website.

Under the government’s proposal, – currently out for consultation – a person who threatens to distribute an invasive image or intends to “arouse a fear” that the threat would be carried out would be guilty of an offense, carrying a maximum penalty of $10,000 or two years jail, if the image was of a minor, or $5000 or 12 months jail if the image depicted an adult.

It would also increase the penalty for distributing an image of a minor to a maximum fine of$20,000 or four years jail, singling it out as an offense worthy of harsher penalty.

Mr Rau said what might start out as a bit of fun between two people may end up causing great distress and ruining lives.

“Young people in particular need to understand that if they take a naked selfie and share it with one person — that image might be shared with hundreds, possibly thousands of other people,” Mr Rau said.

“These images can all-too-often be used as a means of bullying and harassment, as once an image enters cyberspace, it is there forever.”

Mr Rau said while no minor had been listed on the Child Sex Offenders Register for a sexting related offense, there was potential for it to occur and that needed to be addressed.

“Whilst there will still be cases where a young person may be properly charged with an offense relating to child exploitation material, these new laws ensure there is flexibility for prosecutors and courts to consider the context of the behavior,” he said.

“This is something that the late Bob Such was a strong advocate for and I am pleased the government will be able to progress this issue when Parliament resumes in the new year.”

A discussion paper will be released in the new year.

The draft laws can be accessed online.

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