Re­searchers urge tougher laws as 1 in 5 peo­ple falls vic­tim to abu­sive be­hav­iour

New Straits Times - - World -

SYD­NEY the sub­ject ever in Aus­tralia — said leg­is­la­tion needed to be strength­ened, adding that “re­venge porn” had emerged at such a rapid pace that laws were “strug­gling to catch up”.

“Our sur­vey only cap­tured those vic­tims who had be­come aware their im­ages had been dis­trib­uted, whereas some vic­tims may never dis­cover that their im­ages have been taken and dis­trib­uted,” Monash se­nior crim­i­nol­ogy lec­turer Asher Flynn said.

The most com­mon type of abuse was tak­ing in­ti­mate im­ages with­out con­sent.

Some 11 per cent of vic­tims saw their im­ages dis­trib­uted with­out their con­sent, with some 40 per cent of those be­ing shared across so­cial me­dia plat­forms like

NYT PIC Snapchat and Face­book.

A vast ma­jor­ity of those who ex­pe­ri­enced “sex­tor­tion”, or threats to share their im­ages, said they suf­fered from anx­i­ety as a re­sult, with many fear­ing for their safety.

About half of the vic­tims said their per­pe­tra­tors were male, about a third said that the vi­o­la­tor was fe­male while 13 per cent said the of­fender was un­known.

The study rec­om­mended a range of re­forms, in­clud­ing im­proved sup­port ser­vices for vic­tims such as a ded­i­cated helpline sim­i­lar to one es­tab­lished in Bri­tain in 2015.

It also pro­posed mak­ing im­age­based abuse a crime un­der fed­eral telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions law. AFP

Some of the abuses ex­pe­ri­enced by vic­tims in­clude shoot­ing and shar­ing of in­ti­mate im­ages with­out per­mis­sion.

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