The Council is researching sentencing for image-based sexual abuse in Victoria.
Such behaviour involves creating, distributing and threatening to distribute nude or sexual images of others. It has become increasingly prevalent in the age of smartphones and other technological advancements.
Different subsets of this offending include upskirting, downblousing, creepshots, revenge porn and sextortion.
A recent study found that nearly one in four Australians aged 16 to 49 have been a victim of image-based sexual abuse. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people, younger people, people with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are especially vulnerable.
Rate of image-based sexual abuse victimisation among Australians, by key demographics
Data source: Nicola Henry, Asher Flynn and Anastasia Powell, Responding to ‘Revenge Pornography’: Prevalence, Nature and Impacts, Report to the Criminology Research Advisory Council (Australian Institute of Criminology, 2019) 37.
In Victoria, image-based sexual abuse is prohibited by sections 40–41DB of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic), which variously came into force in 2007 and 2014. Most other Australian jurisdictions have introduced specific offences in recent years. To date, however, there has been no detailed analysis of sentencing for these offences in Australia.
To address this gap, the Council is researching:
- how many image-based sexual abuse offences are sentenced in Victoria
- the sentences imposed on those offences
- the demographic characteristics of offenders.
The Council is also analysing the offences most commonly co-sentenced alongside image-based sexual abuse offences and the proportion of cases flagged as occurring in the context of family violence.