Law to help revenge porn victims introduced in Saskatchewan, Canadian province

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building.

Brandon Harder / Regina Leader-Post

The provincial government has introduced legislation that is intended to support victims of “revenge porn.”

The initiative, introduced today by Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan, will create new legal options for people whose intimate images have been shared without their consent. An intimate image is a visual image, including photos or videos, in which a person is nude, partially nude, or engaged in explicit sexual activity, that was made in circumstances that implied a reasonable expectation of privacy.

“This Bill sends a strong message that this callous, criminal behaviour has consequences, and that the Government of Saskatchewan stands with the victims of this type of attack,” Morgan said in a news release.

The Privacy Amendment Act, 2017 will allow a person whose intimate image has been distributed without their consent to sue the person who distributed the image. It will also shift the onus of proof to the person that circulated the image, requiring them to show that they had a reasonable basis to conclude consent had been granted to do so.

Additionally, the amendments will remove the requirement that a lawsuit under The Privacy Act proceed only in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Plaintiffs will have the option to proceed with an action in either small claims or the Court of Queen’s Bench. This will permit plaintiffs in these cases to choose the less expensive and quicker small claims process, where they are claiming damages less than $30,000.

The government believes the amendments complement and support amendments made to the Criminal Code in 2015 to address the distribution of intimate images without consent, and ensure that victims have equal opportunities for redress in both the criminal and the civil spheres of the justice system.

The legislation was expected as the province included a plan to enact it as part of its Throne Speech last week.

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