Justice for porn victims
Law committee recommends revenge porn legislation
THE Territory Government should enact legislation to protect the victims of so-called “revenge porn”, but any new laws should include a “public interest” defence, the NT Law Reform Committee has recommended.
A new report recommends making it an offence to publish any “intimate images” without the subject’s consent, regardless of whether consent was given to the image being taken. The suggested maximum penalty is two years jail.
Threatening to publish such images would also be an offence under the proposal.
However, the committee recommended that exemptions be made when the sharing of intimate images was “of public benefit” or was done in the course of producing news or current affairs. Former assistant treasurer Nathan Barrett was dumped from the CLP last year after videos surfaced of him masturbating in his parliamentary bathroom.
He and then-chief minister Adam Giles claimed the circulation of those videos to media was an example of revenge porn, but it appears unlikely that would be the case under the Law Reform Committee’s recommendations.
According to the report, NT Police’s High Tech Crime Squad was referred six complaints of revenge porn between July 2015 and January 2016. Those complaints all concerned material circulated by ex-partners through the internet or to friends of the victim. The images ranged from the “mildly provocative to highly explicit”, the report said.
But none of the perpetrators were ever prosecuted, because of difficulties with identifying suspects and the reluctance of victims to participate in court proceedings.
The committee’s report recommends that perpetrators under 18 be first referred to diversionary programs, with criminal charges undertaken only as a last resort. It says it should not be treated as a “serious offence” for minors.
The Chief Judge, the Law Society of the NT’s chief executive, and a police representative are among the committee’s members.
A study released by RMIT University found men and women were equally likely to be revenge porn victims although men were more likely to perpetrate the crime.