The Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Act 2018 (WA) comes into effect today, 15 April 2019.
The new law criminalises the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, (sometimes referred to as ‘revenge porn’) and could see perpetrators jailed for up to 3 years and/or incurring fines up to $18,000. It is also an offence to threaten to distribute an intimate image. Where the threat is made with the intention of causing harm, the penalty is up to 7 years’ imprisonment.
The new law also gives the court the power to compel the perpetrator to destroy or remove the images from publication.
The sharing of intimate images (or ‘sexting’) between consenting parties is still legal, but a person who distributes those images further, without the consent of the original sender, now risks serious criminal penalties.
These new laws represent Western Australia’s first main attempt to address the new legal challenges presented by online media and the widespread use of smartphones. We suspect there is much more to come in this space.
Cove Legal Principal Roger Blow is recognised as a media law expert, particularly in liability arising from the use of social media. He regularly provides commentary concerning media law issues to television, radio stations and newspapers. He has been involved in a number of defamation disputes and obtained injunctions in the Supreme Court of Western Australia relating to derogatory Facebook publications.
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This publication is not intended to provide and does not provide legal advice. You should seek professional legal advice relating to your specific situation(s) before taking any action based upon its contents.