LawTalk Blog

Is posting revenge porn illegal?

Is revenge porn illegal?

Revenge porn involves the sharing or posting of sexually explicit images of a person without their consent. In today’s age of social media (Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat etc) this problem is becoming increasingly common so much so that the Federal Government is moving towards developing revenge porn legislation.

South Australia already has some legislation in place in relation to this.

Currently the statistics show that one in five Australians will be a victim of revenge porn and in most cases the offender is known to the victim, being a former partner or friend.

In South Australia someone using revenge porn can be charged with the following offences under the Summary Offences Act:

  • Humiliating or degrading filming
  • Distribution of invasive image
  • Indecent filming
  • Threat to distribute invasive image or image obtained from indecent filming

Humiliating or degrading filming – South Australian criminal law

Humiliating or degrading filming is the filming of another person while the other person is being subjected to or is engaging in a humiliating or degrading act.

A humiliating or degrading act is defined as an assault or other act of violence against the person or an act that reasonable adult members of the community would consider to be humiliating or degrading. It does not have to be a sexual act.

It is an offence for someone to engage in this type of filming or to distribute an image obtained from this filming or for someone to take party in the humiliating or degrading act for the purpose of filming it or distributing images of it.

The maximum penalty for these offences ranges from one year to two years imprisonment for each offence.

Distribution of an invasive image – South Australian criminal law

It is an offence to distribute an invasive image of another person knowing or having reason to believe that the person does not consent to the image being distributed.

An invasive image includes one where a person is shown in a private location engaged in a private act or in a state where they are naked and their genitals, breasts or anal region can be seen and where the image does not fall within reasonable standards of morality accepted by reasonable adults in the community.

The maximum penalty for this offence ranges from a $10,000 fine or two years imprisonment through to a $20,000 fine or four years imprisonment depending on whether or not the image involves a minor or an adult.

Indecent filming – South Australian criminal law

It is an offence to engage in indecent filming, meaning the filming of:

It is also an offence to distribute an image obtained by indecent filming.

The maximum penalty for these offences ranges from a $10,000 fine or two years imprisonment through to a $20,000 fine or four years imprisonment depending on whether or not the filming involves a minor or an adult.

Threat to distribute an invasive or indecent image – South Australian criminal law

It is an offence to threaten to distribute an invasive image or to threaten to distribute an image obtained by indecent filming with the intention of causing fear to that person or being recklessly indifferent as to whether fear is caused.

This threat can be communicated directly or indirectly and can include speech or conduct or a combination of both.  

The maximum penalty for this offence ranges from a $5,000 fine or one years imprisonment to a $10,000 fine or two years imprisonment depending on whether or not the invasive or indecent image involves a minor or an adult.

What to do if you are a victim of revenge porn

Once someone has an invasive image of you it is hard for you to control its future use. It is perhaps best to try to avoid a situation which leads to someone having that image in the first place.

"Being ashamed or embarrassed of the image should not stop you from taking action."

If it has been posted on social media you can contact the relevant website to ask for it to be removed.  If an image has been posted and you are feeling anxious or depressed you should contact your doctor or a support service like Beyond Blue.

You should also contact the police and report the matter.

Being ashamed or embarrassed of the image should not stop you from taking action. It is important to remember that you are not responsible for the offence and what the person is doing is illegal.

What to do if you have been charged with revenge porn

If you have been charged with a revenge porn offence you should immediately seek legal representation.

You can benefit from legal assistance to obtain the best possible outcome for you in relation to your charges. Depending on the circumstances of the alleged offending you may have defences available to you or you may have some mitigating circumstance that can be explained to the court in seeking a minimum penalty for you.

Today’s blog has been researched and written by primary writer Nes Alexandropoulos and finalised by Eva Bailey.


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Get in touch with today's blog writer:
Nestoras Alexandropoulos

Associate in Family Law  and  Criminal and Police Matters

Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Andersons Solicitors. It relates to South Australian legislation. Andersons Solicitors is a medium sized law firm servicing metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia across all areas of law for individuals and businesses.


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