Articles:

Intimate Image and ‘Revenge Porn’ Laws: What are they & what are the penalties?

Man looking at blurred phone screen which may contain  intimate images illegally shared of another person.

 During lockdowns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic  people socialising online became more frequent. As a result the courts have, recently, experienced an increase in Cyber crimes.   

That has included an increase in prosecutions relating to intimate image laws in Western Australia.

The Intimate Image Laws and What they do

 Intimate image laws became effective following the commencement of the Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Act 2018 (WA) on 15 April 2019. The legislation amended the Criminal Code (WA) to bring about the following:

  • Made it an offence to distribute an intimate image of a person without their consent;
  • Enabled the court to make a rectification or ‘takedown’ order in relation to the image; and
  • Made it a criminal offence to threaten to distribute an intimate image.

Put simply, if a person sends an intimate image of themself or an image or video of themself engaging in a private act, it is an offence for the recipient of that image or video to distribute it or to post it publicly online without the consent of that person. It is also an offence for the recipient to threaten to distribute or post the image publicly.  

The Reason for the Laws being Introduced

Prior to the laws being enacted the Western Australian Attorney General in his Second Reading Speech said 'victims of these offences experience embarrassment and humiliation, damage to reputation, employment prospects, educational attainment, interpersonal relationships and mental health issues.

The non-consensual distribution of intimate images is a degrading and dehumanising practice that violates personal privacy and dignity. It is a form of abuse, and should be labelled as such'.

The Meaning of the term 'intimate image'

An intimate image, of a person —

Means a still or moving image, in any form, that shows, in circumstances in which the person would reasonably expect to be afforded privacy —

  • the person’s genital area or anal area, whether bare or covered by underwear; or
  • in the case of a female person, or transgender or intersex person identifying as female, the breasts of the person, whether bare or covered by underwear; or
  • the person engaged in a private act;
  • And includes an image, in any form, that has been created or altered to appear to show any of the things mentioned in paragraph (a);

Engaged in a private act means —

  • in a state of undress; or
  • using the toilet, showering or bathing; or
  • engaged in a sexual act;

The Meaning of the term 'Distribute'

A person distributes an intimate image of a person by —

  • communicating, exhibiting, selling, sending, supplying, offering or transmitting the image to a person other than themselves or the person depicted in the image; or
  • making the image available for access by electronic or other means by a person other than themselves or the person depicted in the image; or
  • entering into an agreement or arrangement to do anything referred to above.

The Meaning of 'Consent'

Consent means a consent freely and voluntarily given. Consent is not freely and voluntarily given if it is obtained by force, threat, intimidation, deceit or any fraudulent means.

A person who gives consent to the distribution of a particular intimate image on one occasion does not automatically consent to that image or any other image being distributed on other occasions.

A person who is under 16 years of age cannot legally consent to the distribution of an intimate image. Under Commonwealth laws, it is an offence to distribute an intimate image of a person under 18 years of age.

Sentencing

There are tough penalties that are being imposed by the court for this type of offending. In 2020 a man was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment by the District Court of Western Australia for threatening a former girlfriend and distributing intimate images of her without permission.

The maximum penalty for the offence if it is dealt with in the Magistrates Court is a fine of up to $18,000 or imprisonment for up to 18 months. If the offence is dealt with on in the District Court the maximum penalty is a sentence of imprisonment of up to 3 years.

Can a person be charged under the intimate image laws for sharing an intimate image of themselves?

Recently there has been significant media coverage on the texting saga relating to Tim Paine, who was the captain of the Australian cricket team.

This gives rise to the question of whether it is illegal for a person to share an intimate image of themself.

A person cannot be charged under the intimate image laws for sending an intimate image of themself. The intimate image laws relate only to sharing an intimate image of someone else without their consent. However, if a person under the age of 18 creates or shares an intimate image of themselves, that may still constitute an offence under other criminal law provisions relating to child exploitation material.  

Furthermore it is an offence to possess, send or request an intimate image of a person under the age of 18.

We Can Help

If you have been charged with a sexual offence in Perth and need representation from an experienced Criminal Lawyer, contact the Andrew Williams Criminal Law Offices without delay on (08) 9278 2575.

PLEASE NOTE: The material in this blog post is for informational use only and should not be construed as legal advice. For answers to your questions regarding this or other topics, please contact a professional legal representative.

Contact our lawyers now

At Andrew Williams Criminal Law we're here to help you with the best legal advice.

Testimonials Hear from our valued Clients

Words cannot express my gratitude for Andrew agreeing to take my case on, commit to returning from annual leave early, and the personal support and legal expertise provided in defending the driving charges made against me.

The delays I experienced by the two adjournments, while prolonging my anxiety and reducing my faith that I would receive a favourable outcome, worked very ...

Rel M
Rel M

I had Andrew deal with my case recently and couldn't of been happier with the result he got for me. From the start Andrew was quick to reply to any questions and queries I had regarding my matter. He was very professional in my opinion, very easy to talk to and explained things quite well. I felt very comfortable in the courtroom knowing that Andrew wanted to get the best result he could for me, and I would highly recommend Andrew Williams to ...

Colin W

I was on a very tight rope where, if it balanced the wrong way, it would have totally devastated my life. Andrew was honest through the entire process preparing me for the worst but never let me give up and thankfully with his help got a great outcome that let me move forward with my family. I cant praise Andrew enough and recommend him 100%.

...

Jason M

I cannot thank Andrew enough for his support and would not hesitate recommending your service to anyone who would need your help. I am eternally grateful to Andrew Williams who kept me informed as and when he had to and had no doubt in his professionalism. Thank you.

...

Pamela J
Pamela J

Had Andrew defend a reckless driving charge. He gave good solid advice throughout the process and defended me well at the trial. His costs were affordable and he was a great guy in general. The most important thing is we were able to have the charges dismissed via a not guilty verdict. I would recommend him to anyone.

...

Joly M
Joly M

Andrew represented me recently in a few difficult situations. I found him to be very professional, easily contactable and generally wanting a good outcome for me. I've passed his contact info to friends and if I ever need legal representation again I'll definitely be using his services.

...

Ryan B
Ryan B

After making several calls to various law firms, I came across Andrew Williams who was quick to respond providing knowledgeable, honest and friendly legal advice. At all times I felt confident in Andrew's ability to defend the charges. The case went to trial with an outcome of not guilty. I was awarded full legal costs. Could not be happier.

...

Matt K
Matt K

Andrew was fantastic to deal with. His courtroom demeanor and skills were apparent. He was always able to assist with a complex matter across nearly 3 years in rural WA. Would highly recommend his services.

...

Wesley H
Wesley H

Of my limited experiences in the judicial system, I can’t rate Andrew Williams highly enough. He was fantastic on my day in court and was very straight up during my consultations. He is such an awesome person, and the best professional criminal lawyer I have ever encounter. Need help call Andrew.

...

Aaron J

Andrew was brilliant with my case and achieved the best outcome. He was very professional and was very impressive in the submissions he presented to the magistrate. Again, I can't thank you enough Andrew.

...

Danni H

Andrew was very preffesional and welcoming when dealing with my case.

In the court room I felt at ease knowing andrew was representing me.

I would highly reccomend andrew for everyone no matter how big or small the case is!

...

Harry

Thanks a lot for handling my case and getting the pleasant outcome. Since the first time I talked to you I have known that my case was in a capable hands. I am impressed by your knowledge and confidence which gave me confidence. Cheers.

...

Joe Y

Thank you so much Andrew for grooming me and going over the process over and again. It was a traumatic time for me and you kept me focused. I really appreciate your guidance and we came out with the best result.

I wouldn't of been able to hold up as I did if not for your valued support.

Sincerely, Kyley.

...

Kyley S

Andrew was very approachable, knowledgeable, professional and focused on the best outcome. I would always recommend him.

...

Kieran C

My personal experience with Andrew Williams was a pleasant one from day one. In the midst of a police raid and the inability to find legal representation I considered myself done for when Andrew took the time to call me back after I contacted his office (during which time he was in trial). Upon soliciting some legal advice, Andrew was straight with me and I made an appointment with him in which he clearly explaine...

Franciosco R

I was charged with the offence of aggravated common assault. I engaged Andrew Williams to act for me.

From the first time I met Andrew I knew that I was in the right hands. His level of professionalism both in and out of the court room was very impressive. Following a two day trial in the Perth Magistrates Court, I was found not guilty.

Andrew Williams assisted me through a very stressful peri...

Kyran H

My wife and I were so glad that we chose Andrew Williams to handle our sons Reckless Driving charge. What a relief to know we have people like him around to help.

Besides a failure to indicate and cutting the corner of a very sharp S bend in the road all other allegations by Police were not substantiated. After using a previous Law firm that basically told us that it was the 2 Police Office...

George M

I have nothing but good things to say about Andrew and his law services. He helped me more than I could possibly ask for during a difficult time facing the court. He was very efficient and precise and always happy to help and answer questions even last minute and after hours.

I believe he charges a very fair price considering the amount of work he put in for me to achieve the best possible result in cour...

Trent W

I trusted that Andrew was the person to defend my case in our initial contact on the phone. He was very confident in his approach, from the first point of contact to the court room. I believe this must be from years of experience. Another added bonus for Andrew is that he is very honest and fair. He tells you like it is in the book of law and does not appear manipulative. His communicat...

Abraham A

Unhappy with my then representation, I went searching for a new criminal lawyer. Andrew responded quickly and professionally to my enquiry. It was quickly apparent during the first meeting that Andrew was knowledgeable, honest and was committed to getting us the best possible outcome. Andrew looked at all avenues available to me in a Magistrates Court matter. He negotiated on my behalf with the pros...

Timothy R

After being charged with Common Assault of a minor I made a sensible decision not to use the local Kununurra law firm. I engaged Andrew Williams to assist me with resolving this matter (to the point of me being awarded costs). Despite being 4000km away I never had any issues with Andrew's commitment to my case. He promptly returned all calls and demanded I do likewise when important information needed to be e...

David C

Andrew Williams is a criminal laywer of much dedication I will never have the words of gratitude and admiration for his honesty and integrity I would highly recommend him to anyone who may require his services in the future

...

Helen M

I just wanted to take my time to explain my experience with Andrew Williams. I had an incident that could have really affected my future. As anyone does I called around all the lawyers in Perth and just not any lawyer but the ones who are highly respected amongst other lawyers and get the results. I have a friend who works in the industry and she recommended Andrew. She said she always sees Andrew in the paper with amazing outcomes to cases th...

Phillip C

Very happy with my representation and fair fees by Andrew, I highly recommend him.

...

Damian A

I found dealing with Andrew Williams Law Firms to be quite pleasant and professional. I have nothing but utmost regard for this firm and would recommend anyone who needs a good criminal lawyer.

...

Andrew H

If you want to get the best lawyer money can buy and get results? Look no further than Andrew Williams and get him in your corner. Not only is he a great guy I found his legal services very professional and knowledgeable and his attention to detail was faultless. This was a very tumultuous time in my life I was facing two criminal charges and my anxiety and stress levels were through the roof, but thanks to Andr...

Dan G

Go to top