Distribute Intimate Images without consent

It is an offence under the Crimes Act 1900 to distribute images of an intimate nature without the consent of the person depicted in the image.

An intimate image is considered to be one which either

  • shows someone’s private parts
  • shows someone engaging in an activity which a reasonable person would consider to be private

Manipulated or altered images which show a person’s private parts or shows a person engaging in a private activity are also subject to the offence.

According to the Act private parts are defined as:

  • the genital or anal area (whether covered or uncovered)
  • the breasts of a female, transgender person or inter-sex person identifying as female

Private ‘Acts’ are defined as:

  • being in a state of undress
  • using the toilet, showering or bathing
  • engaged in a sexual act not ordinarily displayed in public

To be found guilty of this offence the Police need to establish that you intentionally distributed a ‘private’ image of a person and that it was done without their consent. If you are not sure if they have given their consent and you distribute the image you are considered to have been ‘reckless’ about their consent, which is also an offence. Images can be distributed electronically, in person or by some other means. The accused must have distributed the image by:

  • sending
  • supplying
  • exhibiting
  • transmitting
  • communicating

it to another person. Or making it available for viewing or accessing by another person, whether in person, electronically, digitally or by any other means.

An image can be either still or moving (video). Some examples of distributing intimate images are:

  • revenge porn
  • sending a naked picture of your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to one of their friends
  • posting a video of yourself engaged in a sexual act with someone without their consent or knowledge
  • showing colleagues, family or friends naked photos of your partner on your phone
  • printing out intimate photos of you and your partner and exhibiting them in a public place

The offence of Distribute Intimate Images is a serious one with a maximum penalty of up to three year’s imprisonment or up to $11,000 in fines. To be convicted of this offence the Police must prove that you intentionally distributed the intimate image without the consent of the subject of the image or with reckless regard for the consent of the subject of the image.

It is important that you seek immediate legal advice if you have been charged with this offence. There may be defences available to you depending on the circumstances of your case. Such defences include:

  • the distribution of the image was unintentional
  • the subject of the image freely and voluntarily gave their consent
  • a reasonable person would consider the conduct of the accused as being reasonable
  • the image is not considered to be an ‘intimate’ image

If you have been charged with the offence of Distribute Intimate Images contact William Vahl of North Shore Criminal Law for advice on 0400 44 6424. William has over 25 years experience in criminal law and is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist.