BC government begins consultation to help victims of revenge porn

New sextortion legislation

New legislation could provide British Columbians with protection against so-called "revenge porn."

The Government of British Columbia has started consultations on legislation that would crack down on "non-consensual distribution of intimate images," also known as revenge porn or image abuse.

According to Cybertip.ca, 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, 2020. This included a 94 per cent increase in youth reporting and a 44 per cent increase in adults reporting.

The publication of intimate images without consent is already an offence under Canada's Criminal Code, but potential provincial legislation could provide additional tools for people to protect themselves and seek recourse.

"Without consent, circulating or threatening to distribute an intimate image is a form of sexual violence with traumatic and lasting impacts," says Grace Lore, parliamentary secretary for gender equity. "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. We believe a comprehensive B.C. approach can make a real difference for people to achieve results faster and get better access to justice."

The proposed legislation would provide a new option to help people get posted images taken down and destroyed. It could also create a new process for people to claim compensation from wrongdoers.

The scope of the legislation could also apply to altered images, known as deep fakes.

Consultations with stakeholder groups will be ongoing until June 2021.

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