The law is evolving in the area of “revenge porn”.
The law is evolving in the area of “revenge porn”. Will Hunter

OUR COURTS: Revenge-porn laws in need of reform

WITH the rise of modern technology, the sharing of private, sexually explicit photos or videos of another person without their consent is becoming an increasing legal problem.

The law is evolving in the area of "revenge porn" and the courts are limited in their ability to properly administer justice to victims.

In Queensland, under the criminal code, a person can be charged with the offence of extortion if the use of graphic images of another is to gain a financial benefit or cause detriment.

Such an offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

Under the Commonwealth telecommunications law, it is an offence to use a carriage service, such as a mobile phone or internet service, to offend, harass or menace another person, with a maximum penalty of three years in prison if a person is convicted for such an offence.

The state and federal governments are looking into law reform in this area.

Victoria is the only state in Australia to implement revenge-porn laws.

The Queensland Government has considered making a specific offence for acts termed "revenge porn" but no such law exists at this time.

The Federal Parliament has also been discussing the introduction of nation-wide legislation to make such acts a criminal offence.

With no specific civil action available at this time, such as invasion of privacy, to a victim of revenge porn, there is a growing need for reform of the law so victims can pursue justice through the courts.

The possibility for suing for breach of confidentiality or invasion of privacy exists in theory.

But it has not been tested in the higher courts.

Where a domestic relationship exists between the victim and offender, state domestic violence legislation may be available to obtain protection orders to prevent such acts occurring.

The online nature of revenge porn creates high potential for anonymity of an offender and a difficult challenge for law enforcement, only further highlighting the need for reform of the law in this area.


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