A Slater and Gordon criminal lawyer has warned people who share explicit images of their former partners online that they could face a range of criminal charges.
Lawyer Emma Aldersea said news that nude photos of hundreds of Queensland women have been posted on a New Zealand based website is the latest example of a growing trend towards “revenge porn”.
“As criminal lawyers we are seeing more cases of disgruntled former partners posting and threatening to post inappropriate photos online of their ex-partners,” Ms Aldersea.
“Most people who engage in revenge porn act out of emotion – they are usually hurt and are motivated by a desire to get back at their partner - and more often than not they do not think through the consequences of their actions.
“They need to be aware that this sort of conduct is actually illegal and can result in very serious criminal charges, even if they delete the post.
“If you are convicted, you could end up with a criminal record that could impact on your reputation, employment prospects and travel plans.
Ms Aldersea said there was no state-based legislation that deals with “revenge porn” in Queensland, unlike South Australia and Victoria which have introduced local laws and penalties.
“In Queensland we rely on the Commonwealth Criminal Code, which means anyone found responsible for posting inappropriate images of either adults or children online would face Commonwealth charges.
“Under the Commonwealth Criminal Code it is illegal to use a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence - using a carriage service includes posting material online. The penalty is a maximum three years imprisonment if the victim is an adult and up to 15 years if the victim is under 18,” Ms Aldersea said.
“The Commonwealth Criminal Code also places obligations on internet service providers and internet content hosts to alert the Australian Federal Police if they become aware that their service can be used to access material which may be believed on reasonable grounds to be child abuse material or child pornography. That means ISP and website operators must alert the police to such posts. It is an offence to fail to do so.”