Image-based abuse

Did you know 11% of Australian's over the age of 18 have experienced image-based abuse? It doesn't matter your race, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation or age – anyone can be affected. And it's scary.

Image-based abuse is when someone shares a personal video or photo of you, which can also be digitally altered to a situation that never even existed.


What's classified as an intimate image?

An intimate image can show persons private areas, including genital, anal or breasts, regardless of gender identity and can be covered or bare. It can also include photos or videos of a person engaging in private activities such as showering, getting dressed or engaging in sexual activity. It's important to know that image-based abuse also includes sharing videos or photos of a person without the religious or cultural attire that they would typically wear.


What do you do if you think someone has shared an intimate video or photos of you or someone you know? You can

  • Report the image or photo to the eSafety Commissioner. This link here takes you to the webpage to be able to report the issue safely. When you report the issue, the eSafety Commissioner will assess the information you've provided and inform you of the best way to move forward.

  • Report the image or video to the social media platform or website sever. The majority of online platforms have processes and policies surrounding image-based abuse and how to remove the content.

  • Report the content to the police. You can visit your local police station and report the incident to them. This template from the Commissioner can help you with what you need to bring. You can also read here about how to best collect evidence safely.

Under the Enhancing Online Safety Act (2015), the civil penalties scheme was established to allow victims to report to the eSafety Commissioner and have the authority to have the image or video to be quickly removed from where it has been uploaded. The Commissioner also has the power to take action against the person who shared the personal content. Read more about the civil penalties scheme here.

It's important to know even if you originally consented to the images or videos to be shared or posted, but you've since changed your mind, it's okay to still report the content using the reporting option listed above. It'll just be called an 'objection', and while eSafety can help you get the content removed, they won't be able to take action against anyone.


If you or someone you know is at risk or immediate harm, call 000. If you are having thoughts about self-harm or suicide, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.


References

eSafety Commissioner. (2019). Image-Based Abuse. https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/image-based-abuse

headspace. (2017). Understanding sexting and image-based abuse: for families. https://headspace.org.au/friends-and-family/understanding-sexting-and-image-based-abuse-for-family-and-friends/

Wyeth, S. (2020). 14 Warning Signs Your Prince Charming Is Actually A Catfish and Scammer. https://www.yourtango.com/experts/sharon-lynn-wyeth/17-clues-how-avoid-internet-dating-scams


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