Civil penalties scheme

Overview

The Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (the Act) was recently amended to establish a civil penalties scheme to address the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, otherwise known as image-based abuse.

This scheme allows victims of image-based abuse to make a report (complaint or objection notice) to the eSafety Commissioner. In response to a report, we may take removal action and in some cases also take action against the person who posted, or threatened to post, an intimate image without consent.

In recognition of the serious and harmful nature of image-based abuse, the civil penalties scheme offers victims relief by facilitating the rapid removal of intimate images and a range of civil remedies to hold the person responsible for the image-based abuse accountable.

How does the civil penalties scheme work?

Under the Act, the eSafety Commissioner is responsible for administering a complaints and objections system in relation to image-based abuse.

Victims or those authorised to act on their behalf can report image-based abuse to us by completing an online report form.

We also have the ability to give enforceable removal notices to the service on which the intimate image is provided, or to the person who posted the image, requiring them to remove the image. We have arrangements in place with many social media services to work cooperatively with them for the quick removal of intimate images.

In some cases we also have the ability to take action against the person who posted, or threatened to post, intimate images. This action includes issuing formal warnings, giving infringement notices and even seeking an injunction or civil penalty order from a court.

What is image-based abuse? What is an 'intimate image'?

Image-based abuse occurs when an intimate image is shared, or threatened to be shared, without the consent of the person in that image.

The Act defines 'intimate image' as an image or video that shows, or appears to show:

  • a person's genital area or anal area (whether bare or covered by underwear)
  • a person's breasts (if the person identifies as female or transgender or intersex)
  • private activity (e.g. if the person is undressing, using the bathroom, showering, bathing or engaged in sexual activity)
  • a person without attire of religious or cultural significance if they would normally wear such attire in public.

Report image-based abuse to us

If someone has posted, or threatened to post, an intimate image of you, you can report it to us here.

Start your report