LGBTI Australians More Likely To Be Victims Of ‘Revenge Porn’


A new study has uncovered disturbing numbers of Australian LGBTI people have been victims of “revenge porn,” the non-consensual sharing of explicit photos or videos online.

In the Australian-first study by Melbourne’s RMIT and Monash universities, about one-fifth of the 4274 people surveyed had an explicit photo taken of them without their consent. The survey revealed 11% of people had images shared without permission, and 9% had been threatened with the image being made public.

But the research found LGBTI people were at greater risk of becoming revenge porn victims, with 36% of LGBTI participants reporting they were victims, compared to 21% of heterosexual participants.

“Image-based abuse has emerged so rapidly as an issue that inevitably our laws and policies are struggling to catch up,” lead researcher RMIT University’s Dr Nicola Henry said.

“This isn’t 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.”

Dr Anastasia Powell from RMIT University said a lack of proper legal and support responses made it difficult for victims to get justice.

“We need to rethink our approach both from a legal perspective but also as a community, to change attitudes that often blame the victims and play down the very real harm caused by image-based abuse,” she said.

The study proposes legal reforms including making image-based abuse a crime under federal telecommunications law. Currently, only Victoria and South Australia have specific laws that criminalise the distribution of intimate images without consent.

In December, a US study found two percent of 3,000 participants had had explicit photo or video shared without their permission, but that number jumped to seven percent among the LGBTI-identifying respondents.