YACWA Advocates for Enhanced Protection of Young People in Response to Criminal Law Amendment
29/01/2024 – This month, the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA) had the honor of providing feedback to the Western Australian Department of Justice regarding the Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Act 2019.
In 2019, the Western Australian Parliament amended the Criminal Code Compilation Act 1913 (WA) to address three critical areas:
1. Criminalise the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
2. Empower courts to issue ‘removal orders’ against perpetrators of Image Based Abuse.
3. Ensure that existing threat offence provisions apply to threats involving the distribution of intimate images.
The Attorney-General is set to review this amendment this year. In collaboration with the Youth Educating Peers Project, YACWA’s policy team has crafted a submission to contribute to this review process.
The amendment marks a significant stride towards protecting the rights of young individuals navigating the complexities of the digital world. The introduction of removal orders in particular offers a much-needed, non-criminal remedy for victims of Image Based Abuse who want their image removed from the internet but who do not want to prosecute the perpetrator.
However, to ensure the legislation effectively safeguards young people and mitigates Image Based Abuse, the Government must commit to implementing the following recommendations outlined by YACWA:
1. Expand the e-Safety Commissioner’s capacity to assist the process of tracking, locating, removing, and/or destroying intimate images from the internet by investing in enhanced cybersecurity infrastructure with inter-jurisdictional capabilities.
2. Invest in peer-led, State-wide education for young people regarding Western Australia’s Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Act 2019, the meaning of Image Based Abuse, and safe digital sexual practices.
3. Streamline Chapter XXV and XXVA of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA) to protect victims of Image Based Abuse who are under 16 years of age.
4. Amend Western Australia’s definition of an intimate image to include provisions relating to “attire of religious or cultural significance” in alignment with section 15 of the Online Safety Act 2021 (Commonwealth).
5. Amend Western Australia’s definition of consent in alignment with section 53P (1) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Victoria).
The complete submission can be accessed by clicking here: YACWA Intimate Images Review Submission
For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
Policy and Advocacy Officer