Revenge Porn Laws in New South Wales


NRL footballer Dylan Napa has been caught in compromising videos that have now been leaked on social media.

While he has been roundly criticised for being involved in the videos, their release does raise the question of the application of new revenge porn laws and whether there is a double-standard when it comes to high-profile victims.

The videos

The videos purportedly showed Napa having consensual sex with a woman and then pleasuring himself as another player shadowboxes in the corner. In another, it appears that Napa, along with fellow professional sportsmen Cory Norman and Kurtley Beale are seen in close proximity to an unknown white substance lined up on a dinner plate.

Napa played 121 matches for the Roosters from 2013-18, including last year’s grand final win over the Melbourne Storm, before moving to the Bulldogs this past off-season.

The videos involving Napa have come from a WhatsApp group of about 25 players from about “four to five” years ago involving Roosters players. Apparently Napa has told former teammates he doesn’t know who has leaked the videos, although Roosters players have their suspicions.

Under the NRL’s code of conduct, players are forbidden from uploading or distributing “obscene or sexually explicit” material on social media. In 2017, during collective bargaining agreement negotiations, the Rugby League Players Association demanded a 29 per cent share of total game revenue because it wanted to be genuine “partners” in the game. The RLPA insisted it would clean up player misbehaviour because their actions would directly hurt their back pockets.

Revenge porn NSW in laws

Under the new laws, an update to the Crimes Act 1900 after the passing of the Crimes Amendment (intimate images) Bill, revenge porn is now criminalised.

Section 91P of the Crimes Act now makes it an offence punishable by up to 3 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $11,000 for a person to intentionally record an intimate image of another person without that other person’s consent, while knowing or being reckless to the fact that the other person did not consent.

Section 91Q of the Crimes Act prescribes the same maximum penalty for anyone who intentionally distributes an intimate image of another person without that other person’s consent, while knowing or being reckless to the fact that the other person did not consent.

And section 91R prescribes the same penalty for anyone who threatens to record or distribute an intimate image without consent, intending the other person to fear the threat would be carried out.

NSW courts will also be empowered to issue “take down” orders, which will force offenders “to take reasonable steps to recover, delete or destroy images taken or distributed without consent”. Disobeying this order could see an additional two years’ jail and $5500 fine issued.

Prevalence

At the time that the reforms were announced, RMIT and La Trobe University surveyed 4200 people for a research paper, finding one in five had had a nude or sexual photo taken of them without consent, and one in 10 had had a nude photo of themselves shared without their permission.

Chief investigator, RMIT University’s Dr Nicola Henry, said the research showed this type of abuse was far more common and affected a wider range of people than previously thought.

“Image-based abuse has emerged so rapidly as an issue that inevitably our laws and policies are struggling to catch up,” Henry said. “This isn’t just about ‘revenge porn’ – images are being used to control, abuse and humiliate people in ways that go well beyond the ‘relationship gone sour’ scenario.”

The research also showed that Women (22 per cent) and men (23 per cent) were equally likely to be victimised. At the same time, Moderate to severe depression and/or anxiety affected 75 per cent of victims whose images were distributed, and 67 per cent of those whose images were taken without consent

Public statements

“The new laws shift the power away from vengeful ex-partners and manipulative predators and help victims regain privacy and dignity,” NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said.

“It’s not the victim’s fault when a revenge porn image goes viral. Victims might have consented to the image being taken in a private moment, but that doesn’t mean they want it shared with the world.” Speakman encouraged people who were victims of intimate image abuse to contact police and report the incidents.

He further gave strong promises to hold perpetrators to account. “No one should ever use intimate images to threaten, control or humiliate victims, which is why the NSW Government introduced this legislation to ensure perpetrators are held to account,” he said.

It is yet to be seen whether the weight of this rhetoric will apply to the Dylan Napa case. While it is true that it was naïve and quite irresponsible that he allowed himself to be filmed in such positions, the new revenge porn laws would still apply to their disclosure on social media.


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About Zeb Holmes

Zeb Holmes is a journalist and paralegal working on claims for institutional abuse. He has a passion for social justice and criminal law reform, and is a member of the content team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.
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