In Victoria, section 41DB of the Summary Offences Act 1966 is the offence of Threatening to Distribute an Intimate Image which is threatening another that you will forward naked photos of them to a third person without their consent.
Do the Police say that you made a Threat to Distribute Intimate Image? Learn about your rights and how an investigation proceeds. We can advise you of what to expect. We can also advise you of your options.
Police interview for Threat to Distribute Intimate ImageCall us immediately if the Police want to interview you. You need to know what to expect in an interview to make sure that you do not harm your defence.
Our lawyers can go to the Police station with you to protect your rights and to help you deal with the Police.
Pleading not guiltyOur lawyers are experienced in representing people charged with Threat to Distribute Intimate Image. You need a lawyer who will work hard and fight for you. Did anyone else witness the threat? Is the comment being taken out of context? Is there evidence which proves that you did not do what they say you did?
You also want a lawyer who is going to prepare a defence strategy for you. Preparing your case early is key to a great outcome.
A charge of Threat to Distribute an Intimate Image is serious and can have severe consequences for you if not handled properly.
Pleading guiltyIf you are pleading guilty, we can prepare for your plea hearing to achieve the best possible outcome.
Magistrates treat charges of Threat to Distribute Intimate Image seriously because they are a breach of someone’s trust. They are also a breach of someone’s privacy.
The important goal is to put the offending in context and to make sure that you get the best result.
Sentencing outcomesSentencing outcomes in the higher courts of Victoria Sentencing outcomes in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria
- Contact an expert in charges of Threat to Distribute 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.
Which court will the case be heard in?This is an offence that is dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court.
What is the legal definition of Threat to Distribute Intimate Image?The legal definition of Threat to Distribute Intimate Image is when somebody (A):
- Makes a threat to another person (B) to distribute an intimate image of another person;
- The distribution of the image is contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct;
- (A) intends that the other person will believe, or (A) believes that the other person will probably believe, that (A) will carry out the threat.
Examples of Threat to Distribute Intimate Image
- Someone (A) threatens to post naked images of their ex-girlfriend to Facebook.
LegislationThe section that covers this offence is section 41DB of the Summary Offences Act 1966:
Threat to Distribute Intimate Image
- A person (A) commits an offence if—
- A makes a threat to another person (B) to distribute an intimate image of B or of another person (C); and
- the distribution of the image would be contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct; and
- A intends that B will believe, or believes that B will probably believe, that A will carry out the threat.
- A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable to level 8 imprisonment (1 year maximum).
- For the purposes of this section, a threat may be made by any conduct and may be explicit or implicit.1
Elements of the offenceThe court may find an accused guilty of this charge if the prosecution proves the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:
Element 1: The accused made a threat to another person (C) to distribute an intimate image of B or of another person (C)
An ‘intimate image’ is defined in s 40 of the Act as a moving or still image that depicts a person engaged in sexual activity; a person in a manner or context that is sexual; or the genital or anal region of a person or, in the case of a female, the breasts. ‘Genital or anal region’ means a person’s genital or anal region whether bare or covered by underwear. This definition is deliberately broad and is intended to cover any image which may be considered to be intimate.2
‘Distribute’ is defined in s 40 of the Act to include publish, exhibit, communicate, send, supply or transmit to any other person, whether a particular person or not; and make available for access by any other person, whether a particular person or not.
A threat may be made by any conduct and may be explicit or implicit.3
Element 2: The distribution of the image would be contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct; and
‘community standards of acceptable conduct’ is defined in s 40 of the Act as standards of conduct having regard to:
- The nature and content of the image;
- The circumstances in which the image was captured;
- The circumstances in which the image was distributed;
- The age, intellectual capacity, vulnerability or other relevant circumstances of a person depicted in the image; and
- The degree to which the distribution of the image affects the privacy of a person depicted in the image.
The prosecution must further prove that the accused intended that person B will or will probably believe that the accused will carry out their threat to distribute the image.
- The accused person did not make a threat.
- The images were not contrary to community standards.
Questions in cases like this
- What was the content of the images?
- Was it the accused who made the threat?
Maximum penalty for section 41DB of the Summary Offences Act 1966Threat to Distribute Intimate Image has a maximum penalty of 1 year imprisonment.
SentencingPleading guilty to Threat to Distribute an Intimate Image can attract a prison sentence because Courts view this offending as a breach of someone’s trust. This offending normally leads to a great deal of embarrassment for the complainant if the images are distributed to their family or work colleagues (DPP v Jackson Lade (a pseudonym)  VSCA 264). The Court has other sentencing options available to it, such as a Community Correction Order, fine or Good Behaviour Bond. To increase your prospects of avoiding a prison sentence you must choose a lawyer who will prioritise doing the following:
- Finding other examples of this offence to distinguish your offending.
- Demonstrating your sincere remorse to the complainant by preparing you to give evidence from the witness box or write a letter of apology.
- Directing you to complete a Men’s Behaviour Change Program or counselling. This will address the underlying cause for your offending.
 Australian legal Information Institute. “Summary Offences Act 1966 – Section 41DB: Threat to distribute intimate image.” Austlii.edu.au. http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/soa1966189/s41db.html (accessed June 22, 2020).
 Clause 24 Explanatory Memorandum, Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences and Other Matters) Bill 2014
 s 41DB(3) of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)
- Abduction of a Child Under the Age of 16 for a Sexual Purpose
- Abduction or Detention for a Sexual Purpose
- Administration of Drugs for a Sexual Purpose
- Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence
- Compelling Sexual Penetration
- Distribution of Intimate Image
- Furnish False or Misleading Information (Sex Offender Registry)
- Indecent Act In the Presence of a Child Under the Age of 16
- Indecent Assault
- Intentionally Visually Capture Another Person’s Genital or Anal Region
- Involving a Child in the Production of Child Abuse Material
- Loitering Near Schools By a Sexual Offender
- Offence of Failing to Comply With Reporting Obligations (Sex Offender Registry)
- Persistent Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 16
- Possession of Child Abuse Material
- Procuring a Sexual Act By Fraud
- Procuring a Sexual Act By Threat
- Production of Child Pornography
- Sexual Activity Directed at Another Person
- Sexual Assault By Compelling Sexual Touching
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Offences – Persons With a Cognitive Impairment By Providers of Special Programs
- Sexual Offences Against Persons With a Cognitive Impairment By Doctors etc.
- Sexual Penetration of 16 or 17 Year Old Child
- Sexual Penetration of a Child Under 16
- Sexual Servitude
- Threat to Commit Sexual Offence
- Threat to Distribute Intimate Image