Page 1516 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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Behind the scenes we know from recent research that one in five Australians are victims of image-based sexual abuse, whether that is upskirting, downblousing, so-called revenge porn, “sextortion” or threats of abuse. One in 10 Australians have had a nude or semi-nude image of them posted online or distributed without their consent. More people are choosing to share sexual selfies, with nearly half of the respondents in a recent RMIT study reporting that they had shared a sexual image of themselves. So we need strong laws to say that non-consensual sharing of sexual images is simply unacceptable.

This is often called revenge porn, and some of the images shared undoubtedly could be classified as pornography, but others would not be as clearly so. Because of this, the term “image-based abuse” has been created to cover situations where people are abused using images inappropriately shared. This abuse massively and disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable groups in our society. The RMIT study found that one in five Australians are victims, but it gets worse: one in three young people, one in three members of the LGBTI community, one in two Australians with a disability, and one in two Indigenous Australians report being victims. This abuse is directly linked to high levels of psychological distress consistent with moderate to severe depression or anxiety.

We know our current laws have not caught up with social trends. Sometimes, for instance, young people are mistakenly at risk of being charged with child pornography offences when their images are shared with their consent. We know the ACT is now out of step with the rest of Australia. Both South Australia and Victoria have brought in offences related to image-based abuse, and New South Wales and Western Australia are both in the process of doing so.

My office has been working with Mr Michie in preparing a discussion paper that reviews relevant research and legislation. It also tells the stories of victims of revenge porn and image-based abuse and how this despicable behaviour has impacted the life of thousands of people in the ACT. Four in five Australians want sharing of sexual images without consent to be a crime. This is regardless of whether or not they have experienced this abuse themselves. Australia has a piecemeal and inconsistent response to this growing problem.

The ACT government is not acting on this issue, but it should be. The Greens are very proud to stand with Mr Michie on this, and I am proud to be able to work with him and other passionate members of the community to help stop revenge porn and other image-based abuse. I commend this petition to the Assembly and the government.

Public housing—petitions 8-17, 9-17, 10-17, 11-17

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (10.30), by leave: Thank you for the opportunity to make a quick comment on the petitions that have been lodged today regarding public

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