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Revenge Porn Offences (Qld)

Written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. She also completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the College of Law in Victoria. Fernanda practiced law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practiced in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016. Fernanda has strong interests in Indigenous and refugee law, human rights and law reform.

In February 2019, the Queensland government passed legislation criminalising the publication of ‘revenge porn.’ The Criminal Code (Non-Consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Amendment Act 2018 amends the Criminal Code, creating three revenge porn offences consisting of the publication, without a person’s consent, of intimate images or videos of the person, or making a threat to do so.

The change follows widespread public pressure on governments to denounce the practice of sharing intimate images and videos as a form on online harassment. Revenge porn is used to blackmail the subject, to coerce them to continue a relationship or to punish them for ending a relationship. Revenge porn offences have been introduced in a number of countries and the practice has been denounced as a form of domestic violence, sexual abuse and psychological abuse.

What is revenge porn?

The Criminal Code (Non-Consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Amendment Act 2018 defines intimate images as including:

A moving or still image that depicts

  • A person engaged in a sexual act
  • The genital or anal region when it is bare or covered only by underwear; or
  • The bare breasts of a female; or
  • An image that has been altered to appear to show any of the above.

Including an image that has been digitally obscured.

Revenge porn offences and penalties

There are now three revenge porn offences in the Criminal Code, all of which attract custodial sentences.

Distributing intimate images

Under Section 223 of the Criminal Code Act, it is an offence to distribute intimate images of a person without the person’s consent in a way that would reasonably cause the person distress. It is irrelevant whether the person distributing the images intended to cause distress or actually caused distress.

The maximum penalty for this offence imprisonment for three years.

Consent means free and voluntarily given agreement by a person with the cognitive capacity to consent. A person under 16 is incapable of giving consent for the purpose of this provision.

It is a defence to a charge under this section if the person distributing the images was doing so for a genuine artistic, educational, legal, medical, scientific or public benefit purpose and their conduct was reasonable for that purpose.

Distributing prohibited visual recordings

Under Section 227B, it is an offence to distribute prohibited visual recordings of a person without the person’s consent. Prohibited visual recordings include:

  • A recording of a person engaged in a private act, in circumstances where a person would be expected to be accorded privacy;
  • A recording that shows a person’s genital or anal region when it is bare or covered only by underwear, made in circumstances where a person would expect to be afforded privacy

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for three years.

Threats to distribute images or recordings

Under Section 229A of the Criminal Code, a person commits an offence if they threaten to distribute intimate images or a prohibited visual recording of a person:

  • without the person’s consent; and
  • in a way that would reasonably cause the person distress; and
  • in a way that would reasonably cause the other person fear of the threat being carried out.

This offence attracts a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment.

For this offence, it is irrelevant whether the intimate image or recording actually exists and whether the person making the threat intends to cause fear of the threat being carried out, or actually causes such fear.

Rectification order

When a court finds a person guilty of revenge porn offences, it can order the offender to remove, delete or destroy the intimate images or prohibited visual recording involved within a stated timeframe. If the offender fails to comply with such an order, they can be found guilty of a further offence, punishable by a maximum of two years imprisonment.

If you require legal advice or representation in a criminal matter or in any other legal matter please contact Go To Court Lawyers. 

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