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More court protections for 'revenge porn' victims

Last published on 14 Oct 2020 in Media Releases

Victims of intimate image abuse will have the same court protections as other sexual assault complainants while judicial officers will have greater powers to order images and recordings be destroyed, under legislation to be introduced in NSW Parliament today.

Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said the proposed Criminal Procedure Act 1986 reforms acknowledge the seriousness of these types of offences and the distress and damage they inflict on victims’ lives.

“Coming to court can often involve extensive questioning about intimate details of a victim’s experience and the terrible hurt caused. These reforms are aimed at helping to reduce the trauma of that experience,” Mr Speakman said.

The proposed reforms mean victims can give evidence remotely and in a closed court, access a support person, have their identity protected from publication, and avoid cross-examination by an unrepresented accused personally.

“It is vital victims know if they report intimate image abuse that they will be appropriately supported in court, while also helping them regain privacy and dignity,” Mr Speakman said.

The proposed reforms also allow the court to order an offender to remove, retract, delete or destroy an intimate image when found guilty of threatening to distribute it without consent.

“What happens to intimate images can be a source of ongoing fear and trauma for many victims, and our Bill seeks to address that anxiety,” Mr Speakman said.

“It will give victims some sense of control and peace of mind that even when only a threat is made, that those images can no longer be accessed or disseminated in the future.”

Today’s Bill reinforces the Government’s commitment to addressing this vile form of intimate abuse and follows its implementation of the Crimes Amendment (Intimate Images) Act 2017.

“Unfortunately, the rapid advent of technology has facilitated a rise in this type of criminal behaviour, so it is crucial our justice response keeps pace,” Mr Speakman said.

Research by the e-Safety Commissioner indicates 11 per cent of Australian adults have experienced image-based abuse. According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, there were 296 charges for intimate image offences between July 2018 and June 2019, while 420 charges have been laid between July 2019 and June this year.

Further details of the Bill will be available on the NSW Parliament website this afternoon when it is second read in the Legislative Assembly.

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