Nowhere to hide for victims of revenge porn

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Acting Commissioner for Victims of Crime Kati Kraszlan discussed WA's new image-based abuse laws in Geraldton last week.
Camera IconActing Commissioner for Victims of Crime Kati Kraszlan discussed WA's new image-based abuse laws in Geraldton last week. Credit: Picture: Francesca Mann, Francesca Mann The Geraldton Guardian

The Acting Commissioner for Victims of Crime says people living in regional WA are more likely to be affected by “revenge porn” because there are simply fewer places to hide.

Kati Kraszlan visited Geraldton for a free community forum on the State Government’s new intimate image laws, which came into effect on April 15.

The new laws make it a criminal offence to create, distribute or threaten to distribute nude or sexual images without consent, punishable by a jail term of up to three years and fines of up to $18,000.

Victims of image-based abuse can request for the image to be taken down by the eSafety Commissioner without pressing charges, and courts can also order images to be removed at the first appearance.

But Ms Kraszlan said image-based abuse can have a devastating impact on the victim’s life.

“In Perth you can move across the river and there’s somewhere to hide, but there isn’t that capacity in regional WA,” she said.

“The difficulty for young people in regional towns is if it goes viral it’s hard to escape; the image may be seen by more people and moving town is a huge significant impact.

“Some websites also publish the victim’s name and address, which puts their safety at risk.

“And there can be economic consequences — if an employer finds the images they could lose their job, or they may not be able to get work.”

While both men and women can be victims of image-based abuse, Ms Kraszlan said men are “far more likely” to be the perpetrators.

Young people are more likely to take and send intimate images and Ms Kraszlan said there needed to be more education in schools about the potential consequences.

“If you’re under 18 it is a crime to take, keep or ask for these images,” she said.

“All images sent and received when someone is younger can have serious consequences when they are older if they still have those images. If someone is over 18 and still has those pictures, they’re in possession of child pornography, which will get you on the sex offender list.

“Young people need to be aware of what they are sending as that is an enormous amount of trust.”

About 10 people attended the community forum, with representatives from the Mid West-Gascoyne police, Desert Blue Connect and Legal Aid.

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