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Distribution of Intimate Image

In Victoria, section 41DA of the Crimes Act 1958 is the offence of Distributing an Intimate Image which is passing on naked images of someone to others without their consent.

Do the Police say you are responsible for the distribution of intimate images? Speak to us about your important legal questions. We can advise you of your rights. We can advise you of what to expect during the Police interview. We can navigate you through the Court process.

Police interview
If you don’t know how to properly deal with the Police investigation, you can harm your defence.

We will advise you on how to deal with the Police. We will also advise you on what you need to know during the investigation stage.

Call us immediately if the Police want to speak with you about an allegation of Distribution of Intimate Image. Anything you tell Police can make running a defence more difficult. Anything you tell other people can impact your case. You need to be advised how to protect yourself during the matter.

Our lawyers can also attend the Police interview with you.

Pleading not guilty
Our lawyers are experienced in representing people charged with Distribution of Intimate Image. You want a lawyer who is going to ask the Police – are there text messages? Are there Facebook or Instagram messages? Did anyone else witness the threat? Is the comment taken out of context? Is there evidence which proves you did not do what they say you did?

Magistrates treat the offence of Distribution of Intimate Image seriously because it is a breach of trust.

You need a lawyer who is going to prepare a defence strategy for you. Preparing your case early is key to a great outcome.

Being accused of a sexual offence can be stressful. It can impact your relationship with family and friends, your employment and ability to see your kids.

Pleading guilty
If you are pleading guilty to a charge of Distribution of Intimate Images, we can help you get the best possible outcome. We can advise you of courses you should do, documents you should gather and how to tell your story to the Magistrate.

  • Contact an expert in charges of Distribution of Intimate Image on (03) 9670 5111.
  • We provide a free first phone conference.
  • Download our free booklet to learn more about the Investigation and Court process.
What is the legal definition of Distribution of Intimate Image?
The legal definition of Distribution of Intimate Image is when somebody (A):

  1. Intentionally distributes an intimate image of another person (B) to a person other than (B); and
  2. The distribution of the image is contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct.
The offence does not apply to person (A) if:

  1. (B) is not a person under the age of 18; and
  2. (B) has expressly or impliedly consented, or could reasonably be considered to have expressly or impliedly consented to:
    1. The distribution of the intimate image; and
    2. The manner in which the intimate image was distributed.
Examples of Distribution of Intimate Image
  • Someone (A) posts images of his naked girlfriend on a public Facebook page. The girlfriend had sent the image to (A) for his personal use and explicitly stated not to distribute them.
What is the legal definition of “intimate image”?
The legal definition of “intimate image” is defined in s 40 of the Summary Offences Act as:

  1. A person engaged in sexual activity; or
  2. A person in a manner or context that is sexual; or
  3. The genital or anal region of a person or, in the case of a female, the breasts.
Legislation
The section that covers this offence is section 41DA of the Summary Offences Act 1966.

Distribution of Intimate Image
  1. A person (A) commits an offence if—
    1. A intentionally distributes an intimate image of another person (B) to a person other than B; and
    2. the distribution of the image is contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct.
  2. A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable to level 7 imprisonment (2 years maximum).
  3. Subsection (1) does not apply to A if—
    1. B is not a person under the age of 18 years; and
    2. B had expressly or impliedly consented, or could reasonably be considered to have expressly or impliedly consented, to—
      1. the distribution of the intimate image; and
      2. the manner in which the intimate image was distributed.1
Elements of the offence
A person may be convicted of Distribution of Intimate Image if the following elements are proven in court:

  • The accused intentionally distributed an intimate image of another person (V) to a person other than V; and
  • The distribution of the image is contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct; and
  • The person (V) is under the age of 18 years; and
  • The person (V) had not expressly or impliedly consented, or could reasonably be considered to have expressly or impliedly consented, to the distribution of the intimate image and the manner in which the intimate image was distributed.

[1] Australian legal Information Institute. “Summary Offences Act 1966 – Section 41DA: Distribution of Intimate Image.” Austlii.edu.au. http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/soa1966189/s41da.html (accessed June 17, 2020).
 
  • The accused person did not send the images, someone else did.
  • The complainant consented to the images being distributed.
There are other possible defences depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • What was the content of the images?
  • Was it the accused who sent / posted the images?

Distribution of Intimate Image has a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria

Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Distribution of Intimate ImagePleading guilty to the Distribution of an Intimate Image is treated seriously by the Courts because it is seen as a breach of trust (DPP v Jackson Lade (a pseudonym) [2017] VSCA 264). In Victoria, you can receive a prison sentence if you plead guilty to Distribution of Intimate Image. However, you can avoid a prison sentence and receive a Community Correction Order depending on the following:

  • The gravity of the offence. It is important in a plea like this to find comparable cases where the objective seriousness is higher to distinguish your wrong-doing.
  • Demonstrating sincere remorse to the complainant. You must show the Court that you are genuinely remorseful for your actions. This can be done by giving evidence from the witness box or by writing a heartfelt letter which can be handed to the Court.
  • Undergoing a Men’s Behaviour Change Program or counselling. A Court wants to see that you are taking steps to address your wrong-doing to stop it from happening again. You can do this by completing a 16-week Men’s Behaviour Change course or counselling.