Revenge Porn Amendments

Jenny Leong MP welcomed proposed amendments that would cover situations where someone threatens to use a person's image, aka 'revenge porn'. Currently, this is not an offence and there are no proceedings or take-down orders available in relation to threats around this. This fix is very welcome and will have a huge impact on many people's lives.


You can watch Jenny speak on this Bill below:




"I make a contribution on behalf of The Greens to debate on the Stronger Communities Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020. The bill makes a number of technical but important changes. The Greens support the bill, but flag that David Shoebridge will move amendments in relation to sections 1.6 [1] and [6] to propose that provisions around alternatives to prisons are offered to as many offenders as possible. I note that he will also address in more detail the provisions around tendency and coincidence, which previous members have also outlined. I particularly reference the proposed amendments to the definition of "prescribed sexual offence" in the Criminal Procedures Act 1986 to include changes to sections 91P, 91Q and 91R of the Crimes Act 1900. I also note the proposed amendment to section 91S of the Crimes Act 1900 to include a reference to section 91R. This would allow a court to order that a person found guilty of an offence under section 91R must remove, retract, recover, delete or destroy an intimate image.

The Greens strongly support increased protections for victims of so-called revenge porn, and for those in situations where threats have been used to use intimate images. One of the most significant improvements in the bill covers situations where someone threatens to use images. Currently, this is not an offence and there are no proceedings or take-down orders available in relation to threats around this. This fix is very welcome and will have a huge impact on many people's lives.

The law has lagged significantly behind community attitudes regarding recognising the seriousness of these offences, as well as the need to protect those who have been victimised by these types of threats and appalling behaviours. We have heard way too many stories in the media of people, particularly young women, seeking to raise the unauthorised and malicious distribution of personal images with police yet not receiving an appropriate response. In some cases, the lack of sensitivity with which these matters have been handled demonstrates insufficient training on the matter. It is hoped that these changes will not only send a message outlining the changes that are required and emphasising the respect that needs to be shown to the victims of these threats and offences, but also that they will also send a clear message to all in the justice system, including those on the front line, highlighting just how serious these offences are.

The Greens support necessary measures that will take out of circulation and away from the offender an image that was either shared or threatened to be shared. Beyond the scope of the current bill, service providers need to promptly and permanently remove such images from their platforms, and stop subsequent transmissions. It is not enough to look just at the offender—the service providers, as well as those who put these images onto other platforms for subsequent transmission, also need to be looked at. There should be alternatives to the police and the criminal justice system for victims who are either unwilling or unable to go through these traumatising systems. These alternatives could be funded and independently run through a privacy commissioner, or through another statutory authority. This would increase the likelihood of justice being done, with images and offences being taken care of outside of traditional systems.

It is important to recognise that while these threats and attacks can impact all people in the community, women in particular bear the brunt. We are sick to death of the damage they do. We are sick to death of the threats of harm that the system, and the systems that support it, make on women's ability to participate in society. We are sick to death of the intimidation, harassment and fear that is waged upon us when we seek to engage in public debate and interact with our friends, communities and families. It is important to recognise that while these threats of harassment, intimidation or aggression are made by individuals, it is individual women who are the victims. The systematic failure of our systems—the justice system and the laws, and government policies and processes—has prevented any progress on this matter. Violence towards women, as well as their harassment and intimidation, demonstrate that there is something very sick and wrong with our society. It is a failure of the laws that have been put in place to create and entrench patriarchy and inequality in our society that perpetuate a lack of respect for women regarding these issues.

These changes are welcome and essential. However, we need to recognise that, while there are still women who face these real and present dangers every day but feel uncomfortable and unsafe to report them through the formal channels, the police or other mechanisms of the justice system, because they do not have faith in the patriarchal structure that has oppressed women for so long, other avenues are available. We should be telling women to be angry about this. We should continue to call this out. Threats to women's participation in society when patriarchal systems that oppress women are in place need to be called out, and I will continue to call them out in this place."

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