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Update on the Criminalisation of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images in WA: Another Conviction in Australia

Just a few months ago, we published an article on the criminalisation of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images in Western Australia. Only this week, there has been a second successful conviction under the Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Act 2018 (WA) (WA Act) in the Rockingham Magistrate’s Court.

Terri-Lee Carmen, a teaching assistant, faced a maximum penalty of three years in jail and an $18,000 fine after pleading guilty to hacking her victim’s Facebook account and sharing her intimate photographs. Magistrate Edwards described the offences as “extremely distressing for the victim” but found that Ms Carmen was unlikely to reoffend and had “treatment needs” before imposing a nine-month community-based order with supervisions.

The non-consensual distribution of intimate images and videos, colloquially referred to as ‘revenge porn’, overwhelmingly effects women. Victims are often also trapped in cycles of domestic violence. Unfortunately this humiliating and devastating act is a growing issue, with the eSafety Commission revealing that 1,400 cases have been reported to the national organisation since it started accepting reports in October 2017.

The WA Act amends the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA) by creating a new offence relating to the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, allowing Courts to order a perpetrator to take down intimate content.

The WA Act is part of a national tapestry of legislation aimed at stamping out this behaviour. The Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (Cth) creates a civil penalties scheme which imposes liability on offenders nationally, and in all Australian states and territories (with the exception of Tasmania), persons can now be prosecuted under criminal legislation for image-based abuse. Criminal and federal laws also protect victims who are subject to related offences such as blackmail and stalking.

There is momentum building nationally in support of the enforcement of civil and criminal penalties and more and more victims are coming forward.   

In Australia, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for crisis support.

Co-author Kathleen Weston.

Copyright 2020 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 298

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About this Author

Lawyer

Ms. O'Brien is a lawyer in our complex litigation and dispute resolution team in our Sydney office. Ms. O'Brien assists clients by providing advice on a range of matters including general commercial litigation, contractual disputes and directors' duties. Ms. O'Brien also has experience in civil and criminal prosecutions, regulatory matters, and insolvency.

Ms. O'Brien has civil and criminal litigation experience across all major court jurisdictions and tribunals. Ms. O'Brien has appeared as an advocate in the Federal Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia in...

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Philip Murray Commercial Attorney K&L Gates Law Firm
Senior Associate

Mr. Murray is a dispute resolution lawyer practicing principally in commercial law. His practice covers corporations law and corporate insolvency, contractual disputes, property disputes, trusts, and equity, often in the energy and resources sectors. Mr. Murray has acted in disputes involving projects and assets situated throughout Australia and internationally, including in New Zealand, England, Thailand, and various African jurisdictions.

Mr. Murray has appeared in the Federal Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of Western Australia, the Wardens Court and in Alternative Dispute Resolution proceedings, both informal and under the London Court of International Arbitration, Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the International Chamber of Commerce mediation and arbitration rules.

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