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Turnbull Government is taking action to stop image-based abuse

Joint Media Release

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Women

The Turnbull Government today introduced landmark legislation to prevent the sharing of intimate images online without consent.

This legislation builds on the Turnbull Government’s commitment to ensuring women are safe at home, safe on the streets and safe online.

The Turnbull Government has listened and is providing what women have been asking for which is effective and timely removal of non-consensually shared images.

Too often victims do not pursue criminal charges against perpetrators because of lengthy and expensive court processes.

The Government has worked closely with a range of interested parties to ensure these new measures address these concerns.

The Enhancing Online Safety (Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Bill 2017 will introduce a federal civil penalty regime targeted at perpetrators and content hosts who share intimate images without consent.

Penalties of up to $105,000 for individuals and up to $525,000 for corporations can be applied for breaches of the prohibition.

Civil penalties will allow the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to take action within hours to quickly remove intimate images published online without consent and to prevent the images being shared.

A civil penalties regime will also ensure there is strong and consistent regulation at the Commonwealth level to protect Australians from this form of abuse.

The Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield said the Bill complements the existing criminal justice system and Commonwealth, state and territory laws.

“Civil penalties will make people stop and think before distributing intimate images without consent - whether that’s an ex‑partner of a victim seeking revenge, an acquaintance or complete stranger being malicious,” he said.

Perpetrators will still be subject to criminal prosecution but victims can choose to pursue civil penalties instead, and won’t have to involve the police if they don’t want to.”

The Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash said this legislation will ensure victims get fast action to remove images.

“When someone has intimate images shared online without their consent their main concern is to ensure they are taken down as soon as possible and our legislation enables that.”

“Image-based abuse is often a method used to intimidate and harass women, it is a growing problem and we are taking strong action to let perpetrators know we will not tolerate it.”

The Government recognises the work that is also being done by prominent social media and content hosts to stop this practice.

The strong partnerships between the eSafety Commissioner and these providers will continue to be important to ensure images are quickly taken down or not posted at all.

For more information visit: www.esafety.gov.au

Media contacts:
Minister Fifield: Geraldine Mitchell 0407 280 476
Minister Cash:  Rachelle Miller 0475 804 886