Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said she was pleased that this afternoon a website containing intimate images of Australian girls has been taken down, thanks in large part to the work of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner and the Australian Federal Police.
“Like many Australians, I found the existence of this website completely abhorrent,” Minister Cash said.
“I also note that the Australian Federal Police and state law enforcement agencies continue to monitor this issue.”
It is clear that perpetrators are now using technology to track, harass, blackmail and abuse their victims in ways that we have not previously seen. The Government is taking concerted action to address the growing problem of ‘revenge porn’ being used as a way to intimidate and harass women and girls.
At the Commonwealth level it is already an offence to use the internet, social media or a mobile phone in a menacing, harassing or offensive manner (section 474 of the Criminal Code). Under this offence, there have been a number of successful prosecutions for revenge porn. For example, a member of the Defence-linked ‘Jedi Council’ was successfully prosecuted and received a 15 month prison sentence.
More must be done and the Turnbull Government is taking the lead on this important issue.
The Coalition committed $10 million during the election campaign to progress initiatives designed to support victims of revenge porn.
This includes establishing a national online complaints mechanism and facilitating information sharing between jurisdictions.
Any change to the law in this area requires the agreement of States and Territories.
At the meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in December 2015, the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments agreed to consider whether specific offences are necessary to prohibit the distribution of intimate images, or to threaten to do so. A progress update will be provided by States and Territories at the next COAG meeting later in the year.
“The Coalition has been steadfast in our commitment to ensure women and girls are safe in their homes, safe on the street and safe online and we will not rest until this important objective is realised,” Minister Cash said.