‘Revenge porn’ reports triple during pandemic, but drop in the ACT

Dominic Giannini 9 December 2020 2
Man with phone

It is a crime in the ACT to share intimate images of a person without their consent. Photo: File.

Reports of image-based abuse, such as ‘revenge porn’ or threats to share intimate images or videos, almost tripled over the pandemic, according to the eSafety Commissioner, compared to the same period (March to September) in 2019.

Young women aged between 18 and 24 are most at risk, but authorities have warned that the abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, sexual orientation, race, religion or socio-economic status.

Data from the eSafety Commissioner reveals that 11 per cent of Australian adults have been subject to image-based abuse.

Abuse can also constitute images that have been digitally altered to appear sexual or nude, which is what happened to Noelle Martin when she had pictures stolen at the age of 18.

Ms Martin, now 26, spoke of the damaging nature and lifelong impact the abuse can have on victims.

“To those who may be experiencing image-based abuse, please know that it does not have to define you and you can get through it,” Ms Martin said.

“Please know you are not alone and there is help and support available.”


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However, the ACT managed to buck the national trend, with ACT Policing recording a 50 per cent decrease in the number of image-based abuse reports between March and September over the past two years.

Reports dropped from 39 in March 2019 to four in March 2020, but reports spiked from three in July 2019 to 15 in July 2020.

Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said it will take a concerted community effort to stop this behaviour.

“Parents, carers, friends, partners or siblings – we can all create positive change to stop image-based abuse by calling out anyone misusing intimate content,” Ms Inman Grant said.

The NSW Parliament recently introduced laws that would give victims of image-based abuse easier access to justice.

The proposed legislation will give courts greater powers to order the destruction of images and allow the court to order the offender to delete the image if they are found guilty of threatening to distribute an image without consent.

Victims will also be able to give evidence remotely or in a closed court and have their identity protected.

A person found guilty of abuse through intimate images in the ACT can face up to three years in prison and $48,000 in fines, or five years in prison and $80,000 if the victim is under the age of 16.

If you are concerned that you have been a victim of this type of offence, report it to police on 13 14 44.

An extensive range of free e-safety resources for parents and children can be accessed on the eSafety Commissioner website.

Anyone experiencing abuse is advised to call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for 24/7 support and referrals.


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2 Responses to ‘Revenge porn’ reports triple during pandemic, but drop in the ACT
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ssek ssek 12:49 pm 10 Dec 20

Or, you know, just don’t send round naked photos of yourself. This problem is self created.

    buzz819 buzz819 8:15 am 11 Dec 20

    You understand what victim blaming is don’t you?

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