What's the law in my state or territory?
Laws relating to image-based abuse differ in each state and territory and can be complex. Here is an overview of relevant Australian federal law and state laws.
Sharing private sexual material without consent is a crime in Australia and you can report it to police.
The Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (the Act) establishes a civil penalties scheme to address image-based abuse. This scheme applies across Australia.
Non-criminal remedies may also be available in courts, such as for breach of confidence or injunctions.
Civil penalties scheme
The civil penalties scheme allows victims of image-based abuse to make a report to eSafety. In response to a report, we may be able to get the abusive images or video removed. In some cases, we may be able to take action against the person responsible for the image-based abuse.
Find out about civil and criminal laws relating to image-based abuse in your state or territory
The civil penalties scheme and federal criminal laws both apply across Australia. Relevant federal criminal laws include using a carriage service to harass, menace or cause offence, with increased penalties for sharing private sexual material in this way.
In addition to federal laws, most states and territories have their own criminal laws which specifically address image-based abuse. Click on your state or territory to see the criminal laws that may apply.
Australian Capital Territory
There are offences for the non-consensual distribution of intimate images and for threatening to capture or distribute intimate images. The offences are located in sections 72C, 72D and 72E of the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT).
New South Wales
There are offences for recording, distributing or threatening to distribute an intimate image without consent. The offences are located in sections 91P, 91Q and 91R of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
There are offences for distributing intimate images without consent and threatening to distribute intimate images. The offences are located in Part VI Division 7A of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) (specifically sections 208AB and 280AC).
There are offences for recording, distributing or threatening to distribute an intimate image without consent. The offences are located in sections 207A, 223, 227A, 227B, 229A, 229AA of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld).
There are offences for ‘humiliating or degrading filming’, ‘distribution of an invasive image of another person knowing or having reason to believe that the other person does not consent to the distribution of that image’, ‘engaging in indecent filming’ and ‘distributing an image obtained by indecent filming’. It is also an offence to ‘threaten to distribute an invasive image of a person’. The offences are located in sections 26A – 26E Part 5A of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA).
There are currently no criminal laws specifically addressing image-based abuse in this state. However, there is an offence for making an ‘observation or recording in breach of privacy’ of another person and for possessing or distributing such a recording without their consent. The offences are located in sections 13A, 13B and 13C Part II Division I of the Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas).
There are offences of ‘distributing an intimate image without consent’ and ‘threatening to distribute an intimate image without consent’. The offences are located in sections 40, 41, 41C, 41DA, 41DB Part I Division 4A of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic).
There are offences for distributing or threatening to distribute an intimate image without consent. The offences are located in sections 221BA – 221BF Chapter XXVA – Intimate images and sections 338, 338B and 338C Chapter XXXIIIA – Threats of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA).
The Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA) allows a court to impose a Family Violence Restraining Order to restrain the person responsible (usually called a respondent) from ‘stalking or cyber-stalking the person seeking to be protected’ and/or distributing, or threatening to distribute, an intimate image of the person seeking to be protected.
The following laws are more general, and include some federal laws, which may assist in instances of image-based abuse:
- indecent images or communications
- classification offences
- voyeurism or non-consensual filming
- child sexual exploitation
- threats of violence
- the use of a carriage service to harass, menace or cause offence
- sexual harassment
- breach of confidence