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Western Australia is Also Criminalising Revenge Porn

Someone who distributes intimate images of a current or ex-partner without their consent will face two years in jail.

by Katherine Gillespie
12 September 2016, 12:00am

Image via Flickr user chype916

Following the lead of Victoria and, most recently, New South Wales, the Western Australian government will next week introduce new family violence laws into parliament, which will outlaw "revenge porn"—the non-consensual distribution of sexually explicit images taken during a relationship.

Under these new laws, anyone who cyberstalks or posts revenge porn on the internet to blackmail or humiliate their partner or former partner will face a two year jail term.

WA courts will be able to place family violence restraining orders on perpetrators, restraining them from distributing non-consensual sexual images of their victims, and making them attend behavioural change and intervention programs.

In August, an online pornography ring targeted thousands of Australian high school-aged girls by publishing their nude images on a dedicated website without consent. The site, which began operating in December last year, contained over 2,000 images sourced from more than 70 different Australian high schools.

Announced by Attorney-General Michael Mischin, the new measures form part of WA's Restraining Orders and Related Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2016, which aims to provide "21st century protection" for victims of family violence.

As well as the new revenge porn laws, the legislation will increase the maximum sentence for the offence of "unlawful assault causing death" from ten years to 20 years. There will also be a new extended jail term for perpetrators of intentional foetal homicide, where harm is caused to a woman's unborn child.

"If a person intentionally causes grievous bodily harm to a pregnant woman which results in the loss of her pregnancy, that person will face up to 20 years' imprisonment, while a person who causes grievous bodily harm to a woman's unborn child in other circumstances could be jailed for up to 14 years," the Attorney-General said in a statement.

WA's deputy premier and police minister Liza Harvey added the legislation focused on the welfare of domestic violence victims.

"Not only do the proposed punishments reflect community expectations, the changes will also protect vulnerable people and give victims confidence, perpetrators will be held to account," she said.

Interestingly, the bill also broadens the definition of a victim of crime to include both the primary victim and that person's immediate family. This is intended to give a voice to a greater range of victims.

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