MEDIA RELEASE

TIM WATTS MP
MEMBER FOR GELLIBRAND

TERRI BUTLER MP
MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH

Michaelia Cash must stop delaying and get behind Labor's plan to criminalise revenge porn

The newly published Digital Harassment and Abuse of Adult Australians Report highlights the urgent need to criminalise 'revenge porn'.

Labor MPs Tim Watts and Terri Butler will introduce a Private Member's Bill to make revenge porn a Federal criminal offence on Monday 12 October 2015. The Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, must stop delaying and agree to support this important legislation.

The Digital Harassment and Abuse of Adult Australians Report is the first national survey to examine the extent, nature and impacts of digital harassment and abuse.

The survey conducted by Dr Anastasia Powell (RMIT) and Dr Nicola Henry (La Trobe University) has revealed significant levels of image-based sexual exploitation and abuse in the Australian community.

The report finds that 1 in 10 Australians reported that someone has taken a nude or semi-nude image of them without their consent. The report further finds that 1 in 10 Australians reported that someone has posted online or sent to others a nude or seminude image of them, or has threatened to publically share such an image, without their consent.

The use of technology to share private sexual images or recordings without people's consent is a horrible violation that can cause its victims serious and ongoing harm. Revenge Porn isn't just embarrassing, it's frequently used to threaten, coerce and control victims. It is a form of sexual assault.

Australian laws have failed to keep up with new, harmful ways that technology is being abused to cause harm, particularly to women, and the law must be brought up to date without any further delay.

Michaelia Cash says she needs to wait for a COAG advisory panel report, due at the end of this year, to decide whether to support Labor's plan to criminalise revenge porn.

"Michaelia Cash shouldn't need a COAG report to tell her that revenge porn should be outlawed", said Tim Watts MP, Member for Gellibrand. "Revenge porn is incredibly harmful and inherently wrong".

Terri Butler MP, Member for Griffith, added "The Digital Harassment and Abuse of Adult Australians Report makes clear that the Turnbull Liberal Government must stop dragging its feet and get behind Labor's plan to criminalise revenge porn. If the Government agrees, we could get this legislation through the Parliament before the end of the year".

An exposure draft of Tim Watts and Terri Butler's Private Members' Bill was recently released and submissions have been received from a range of organisations from the domestic and family violence sector, legal professional bodies and the internet industry.

These submissions revealed that there is overwhelming support for the creation of a specific criminal offence at the Commonwealth level to deal with 'revenge porn'. 'Revenge porn' has already been outlawed in Victoria, and a Federal Law would see this prohibition apply across the country.

It's time for Michaelia Cash to stop delaying and get behind Labor's plan to make 'revenge porn' a Federal criminal offence.

 

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