'Revenge porn' laws to save bad breakup from becoming worse

PROPOSED "revenge porn" laws could make it illegal for jilted lovers to intentionally distribute an intimate image or video without their consent.

That is one of 88 recommendations a parliamentary committee has made in a bid to reduce and prevent criminal activity across the state.

One submission to the committee, quoted in a report released on Friday, noted "revenge porn" laws needed enhancing because these images were often made in private with consent but shared, often to social media, for vengeance without permission.

Victorian laws making it an offence to sext a photo or video of an adult without consent or threatening to do so came into effect last month.

The report detailed how, increasingly, such photos were submitted to websites specifically set up for this purpose: myex.com, which is currently being sued, and posedex.com which describes itself as 'a website where you can experience a short amount of joy by getting revenge on that bitch that broke your heart. Upload a nude photo of your ex for the world to see and judge her'.

"...these cases are different as the images were never intended to be shared with others for sexual gratification," the submission read.

"The motivation is different. The sharing or threat to share these images, usually by a spurned partner, is to psychologically abuse, humiliate, threaten and control the person depicted in the image."

Another submission noted that once uploaded, "it is near impossible for young women particularly to have those images removed" and such acts "have resulted in significant harm to young women including exposure to further sexual harassment and assault, loss of employment, relationship breakdown and ongoing cyber bullying".

The committee has recommended the Queensland Government consider introducing laws making it illegal to intentionally distribute an intimate image or video of a person without consent.

Another key recommendation includes a requirement for all Queensland Police Service officers to undergo competency based training and education to better understand and deal with domestic and sexual violence.

The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee has spent the past six months travelling around the state holding a series of public consultation hearings into various topics contained in its final report.

The committee received 82 submissions including from the Queensland Bar Association, Ipswich City Council, Crime and Misconduct Commission and Safer Toowoomba Regional Partnerships among others.

Ipswich MP and committee chair Ian Berry said crime affected every family, every organisation, every business and every country.

"Governments spend substantial amounts on law enforcement and dealing with crime after it has occurred, but it is in only recent times the focus has moved to crime prevention and crime reduction," he said.

The Ipswich Women's Centre Against Domestic Violence said, in its submission to the committee, all frontline workers and their supervisors working within the criminal justice and community safety arena should be required to undergo specialist domestic and family violence training.

"While the responses that some survivors have had from agencies such as the police service, the courts, prosecuting authorities, legal and support services and compensation processes is exceptional, the unfortunate reality for many is that they remain unsafe, unprotected and unsupported," it said in its submission.

"There is also a distinct lack of integration between these services, which further undermines safety and accountability."

The recommendations contained in the report will be debated when parliament resumes next year.

- APN NEWSDESK.


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