Monash Research Shaping More Law Reform – the ACT criminalises image-based abuse

Following on from their roles in shaping the introduction of the Crimes Amendment (Intimate Images) Bill 2017 (NSW), introduced into NSW Parliament in May 2017, Monash Criminology’s Dr Asher Flynn, and her research partners, Associate Professor Nicola Henry and Dr Anastasia Powell (RMIT University) have been credited with influencing the criminalisation of image-based abuse in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

In August 2017, the Crimes (Intimate Image Abuse) Amendment Bill 2017 (ACT) was passed, with all three major political parties (Labor, Liberals and the Greens) working together to criminalise the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. The new law means it is now a criminal offence to distribute, or threaten to capture or distribute, intimate images without a person’s consent in the ACT.

Asher, Nicola and Anastasia were asked to prepare a submission for the Honourable Caroline Le Couteur MLA, ACT Greens Member for Murrumbidgee, and Greens Spokesperson for Women and Social Inclusion (among other portfolios) on her proposal to criminalise image-based abuse. Their submission and the research they have completed as part of their Revenge Pornography: The Implications for Law Reform Project (funded by the Australian Research Council (DP170101433) and the Australian Criminology Research Council (CRG08/15-16)) were both heavily cited in the Parliamentary Readings of the Bill, and in several speeches made by the Honourable Le Couteur about the importance of the proposed changes.

Following the passing of the Bill, Asher, Nicola and Henry received correspondence from the Honourable Le Couteur thanking them for their ‘robust and comprehensive submission … and your ongoing engagement, insights and work on the frontline’. Le Couteur stated that the research team’s ‘leadership and research was invaluable to our efforts, and without you, I am certain that the non-consensual sharing of intimate images would not be criminalised in the ACT for a long time’.

This is the second major legal reform in Australia that has been directly connected to Asher, Nicola and Anastasia’s important research.