If you’re under 25 and you think you might be involved in image-based abuse, you can get free and confidential legal help from us here.
It is never OK to take, send, share or post a nude, sexual or other intimate picture or video (sometimes called ‘nudes’) of someone online without their permission, or to threaten to do so.
This is called image-based abuse (sometimes known as ‘revenge porn’) and it’s a crime.
If you are looking for information about sharing sexual or intimate images or videos between two consenting people, check out our page on Sexting for more information.
Image-based abuse is where someone visually records or distributes a recording of another person’s genital or anal region (even if they are wearing underwear) or doing anything they would usually do in private without their consent. It is also against the law for a person to distribute an intimate image of another person without the other person’s consent in a way that would cause distress to the other person. This applies both in person and online, and includes showing or sending the image to another person, or posting the image online
An “intimate image” is a picture or video that shows:
It doesn’t have to be a real photo – an intimate image can also include pictures and videos that have been drawn or photoshopped without the consent of those pictured.
A “prohibited visual recording” is video or photos taken of someone, without their consent, when they are:
In QLD, it is illegal to:
It is never safe to assume someone has consented to you taking or sending nude, sexual or intimate images of them. To give consent, the law says that the person in the image must have freely and voluntarily given by a person who is mentally capable of giving consent. If a person shares an image of themselves, it does not mean they have consented to the image being shared to or seen by other people. Consent must be given on each and every occasion.
The person must be conscious and awake to give consent. People who are asleep or drunk can’t consent. Consent doesn’t count if they were threatened or tricked. If someone agrees to have sex or engage in a sexual act, it does not mean that they also consent to it being recorded or photographed. And remember – people are allowed to change their minds!
Under the laws in Queensland, a person under 16 is not able to consent at all to having their intimate images taken or shared. These images may also be child abuse material under the national laws, and these laws apply to anyone under 18. So if the person in the picture or video is under 18, it is a crime to take, record, send, share or post any intimate image or video, even if that person said it was OK. For more information about the laws that apply to people under 16 years old, you can have a look at our page on Sexting.
In QLD, it is against the law to threaten someone with distributing an intimate image of them. Consent to take or share an intimate image or video does not count if the person was threatened or forced to do so. If you have sent someone intimate images or videos and they threaten to post them online or share them with other people, they are breaking the law.
There are also laws that apply across Australia that make it illegal to use a phone or internet service in a way that is menacing, harassing or offensive. This includes sending or posting images that are likely to have a serious effect on someone, for example by making them feel scared or seriously angry or upset and images of private sexual material, which includes images of the breasts, genital or anal region of someone over 18 years old or someone over 18 years old doing a sexual act or pose where they would expect privacy.
If someone has shared, or threatened to share your intimate images, there are steps you can take. As a first step, we strongly recommend that you do not give in to the person’s threats and that you get free and confidential help straight away.
First, we recommend that you collect evidence of any threats and images that have been shared without your consent. For example, you can take screenshots or print images of the abuse or threats. For more information on collecting evidence, check out these guides: How to collect evidence and Collecting information.
If your image has been posted online, you can report it to the website or social media service to get it removed.
If the image is not taken down, you can also report it to the eSafety Commissioner here: https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/image-based-abuse/take-action/report-to-esafety-commissioner
The eSafety Commissioner can help to get the images taken down or take action against the person who sent or posted them. In some cases the Commissioner might need to report it to the police.
You might be able to take legal action against the person or get help to get the images removed. Every situation is different, and a lawyer can help you understand your options.
For free legal advice, you can contact us or one of these services:
If you think you are a victim of one of the crimes we’ve talked about above you can report it to the police. But it’s a good idea to get legal advice or talk to someone first, especially if you’re worried about anything you’ve said or done.
You should contact the police immediately if someone is threatening or scaring you. If you are in immediate danger call 000.
If you or someone you know has experienced image-based abuse, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you trust, like a friend, your parents or another trusted adult.
If you would rather talk to someone you don’t know, you can call one of the following services for free and private counselling support.
If you commit one of the crimes we have talked about above, the consequences can be very serious. You could be investigated and charged by the police, and if you are found guilty you could end up with a criminal record or even go to jail.
If you have committed one or more of these crimes and you are contacted by the police, we strongly recommend that you get legal advice straight away.
If you have a problem or a question, you can send it to us today and we can provide you with free advice, information and referrals to help solve your problem. Just click on the button below.Get help now