Image-based abuse hits ‘one in five’ Australians
One in five Australians has suffered image-based abuse, according to the nation’s most comprehensive study on “revenge porn”.
The national survey of more than 4,200 people found that men and women were equally likely to be targeted.
A fifth had had nude or sexual images taken without their permission, while 11% said images of them had been distributed without consent.
The results showed abuse was even more rife than thought, researchers said.
Men were more likely to be perpetrators, while women held greater fears for their own safety, according to the study by RMIT University and Monash University.
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The risk of victimisation was higher for minority groups including indigenous, disabled and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Australians.
The researchers recommended making image-based abuse a federal crime and creating a helpline similar to one established in the UK in 2015.
“Image-based abuse has emerged so rapidly as an issue that inevitably our laws and policies are struggling to catch up,” said lead researcher Dr Nicola Henry.
“This is not just about ‘revenge porn’ – images are being used to control, abuse and humiliate people in ways that go well beyond the ‘relationship gone sour’ scenario.”
Only two states – Victoria and South Australia – have specific laws against distributing images without consent.