B.C. undertakes consultation for potential ‘revenge porn’ legislation

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The province is undertaking consultations on possible legislation to address the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, also known as revenge porn or image abuse.  

While the publication of intimate images without consent is an offence under Canada’s criminal code, potential provincial legislation could provide additional tools for people to protect themselves and seek recourse, according to the province. 

Grace Lore, parliamentary secretary for gender equity, will lead the consultation on behalf of David Eby, attorney general.

“Without consent, circulating or threatening to distribute an intimate image is a form of sexual violence with traumatic and lasting impacts,” Lore said. “The non-consensual sharing of images can be a form of intimate partner violence or be used to extort victims for additional images, sex or money.”

Reported incidents of non-consensual disclosure of intimate images increased 58 per cent by the start of 2021, compared to the nine month period prior to April 1 last year, according to Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tip line for reporting online sexual exploitation of children.

This included a 94 per cent increase in youth reporting and a 44 per cent increase in adults reporting.

“We believe a comprehensive B.C. approach can make a real difference for people to achieve results faster and get better access to justice,” Lore said.

The province said legislation could provide a new option to ensure people have an efficient way to have images taken down and destroyed.

It could also create a new process for people to claim compensation from wrongdoers and address the threat of distributing images to prevent such harms from occurring in the first place. The scope of the legislation could also apply to altered images, known as deep fakes, according to the province.

Consultations with stakeholder groups are ongoing until June 2021. Members of the public can also submit their views by emailing submissions to imageprivacy@gov.bc.ca.

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