Sharing Intimate Images without Consent

Queensland introduced new laws in February 2019 to deal with revenge porn situations and the growing use of technology-facilitated abuse that was not otherwise strictly covered by other offences. 

The effect that legislation amendment is that two new offences were introduced into the Criminal Code – Distributing prohibited visual recordings and Threats to distribute intimate image or prohibited visual recording.

Therefore, it is now is an offence to share an intimate image of someone without their consent in a way that could reasonably cause distress to the other person. It is also an offence to threaten to share an intimate image of someone without their consent in a way that would cause the other person fear, reasonably arising in all of the circumstances, that the threat would be carried out. This includes threats made to the person in the image, or threats to anyone else. For this offence, it is immaterial whether the image subject of the threat actually exists.

What is an ‘Intimate Image’?

An intimate image of a person means a moving or still image that depicts the person engaged in an intimate sexual activity that is not ordinarily done in public or, that depicts a person’s genital or anal region when it is bare or covered only by underwear or, that depicts the bare breasts of a female person or a transgender or intersex person who identifies as female.

The definition includes an image that has been altered to appear to show any of the things outlined above and includes an image even if the thing has been digitally obscured, if the person is depicted in a sexual way.

Consent means consent freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive capacity to give consent.  It is irrelevant whether the person originally gave you consent to view or possess the intimate image of themselves. You must have consent to show anyone else an intimate image of a person and you must not pressure them into agreeing to provide that consent.

A child under the age of 16 years is incapable of giving consent. 

Penalties

The maximum penalty for each of the offences of Distributing an intimate image and Threatening to distribute an intimate image is three years imprisonment.

The sentencing court can order a person who is guilty of either of these offences to take reasonable actions to remove, destroy or delete the image in question. If they fail to comply with that order they will be charged with a further offence and face a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

This post contains general advice only and is not intended as legal advice.