Your selected location:
15 Feb 2018

There has never been a time when access to powerful communication tools has been more widespread and available. Yet this power to communicate has generally not come with a greater understanding of the potential to abuse that power.  Quite the opposite.  There are many parts of society where this access is second-nature, rarely questioned and barely moderated.  But what does the law say about what we communicate and the potential consequences of either woefully uninformed or otherwise malicious acts online?

A recent Australian study found that 1 in 5 people have been the victim of electronic image-based abuse. This refers to any circumstance where images are used to control, abuse or humiliate another person.  The data also showed that 1 in 3 people aged between 16 and 29 have experienced at least one instance of such abuse.  Men and women are almost equally likely to have been targeted by non-consensual image sharing.

Various laws have been introduced across the country in an attempt to address such actions, which can also be considered a form of domestic violence. Although largely aimed at protecting young people, a difficulty with some new laws in other states has been that young people have seen amongst the highest rates of convictions – 30% being aged between 10 and 17.

In WA, the government has adopted a different method of targeting image-based abuse, through changes to the laws on restraining orders. Family Violence Restraining Orders allow the courts to restrain a person from cyber-stalking or publishing images intended to harm a victim, as well as ordering them to remove material already online. Breaching an order will result in charges that carry a jail sentence of up to two years. Restraining orders can generally be taken out against anyone over the age of ten. It is yet to be seen how effective this approach will ultimately be.

Although the state-based age of physical consent is 16, the national law provides a person under 18 does not have the ability to consent to explicit electronic messaging, regardless of having sent an image willingly. When someone under 18 receives or sends explicit images involving a person under 18, it can be considered child pornography, or an indecent act or recording.  A teenager or child having an explicit image even of themselves on their personal device is enough to be considered child pornography.

Most users of online communications are likely unaware of the potential for serious issues and legal consequences. Convictions and criminal records have already become a reality for some.  This is an area where there is no substitute for knowledge – both to warn against the pitfalls and ultimately to empower potential victims.

MARCUS HODGE

This is general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters, please contact HHG Legal Group’s Albany office on 9481 2322.

*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.

Supporting Western Australian's for more than 100 years

"Always fast and thorough service. Thank you"

Sitka Pil

My circumstances at the time I made contact with HHG were dire following my argument being rejected by two no win no fee firms. Following my initial meeting with HHG's employment law team I was left feeling extremely positive by the response and concern shown by HHG in regards to their support of my argument along with their preparedness to pursue an outcome on my behalf.

I accept the fact that nobody really wins in these cases (mental health/ workplace) however the end result was what would be considered most favourable and far in excess of what would have been achieved had I not sought the advice from HHG.

I have no hesitation in recommending HHG to anyone caught up in the messy circumstances I found myself in at the time.

Great advice and five-star commitment to their client!!"

Nathan Lynch

"Thank you for such great assistance with the transaction of Flying Domestics on behalf of Lorna Good. It has been such a pleasure to work with the HHG Legal Group and I look forward to working with you in the future."

Jim Goodwin

"Simon Creek and his team were at all times empathic, professional and confident.  My matter needed to be addressed within a pressing time frame, and their availability at short notice and contact after hours was much appreciated.  It caused me considerable stress, but having such a thoroughly reliable and competent team to call on helped me to feel in control. Although I hope not to need their services again in future, I would be confident in doing so!"

Dr Lana Bell

"A good outcome is what we can expect.  A great outcome is a sign of a company which does the very best for their clients. A very big thank you to Daniel Morris for showing empathy towards my small and much needed legal action.

To HHG Legal Group, thank you for a great outcome.  I would recommend your company to anyone seeking legal services."

Jan Atkinson

"Your support this morning was amazingly kind, not to mention your totally reassuring competence, knowledge and wisdom that you used on my behalf.  It was extremely reassuring to have your knowledgeable support, and I particularly appreciated your real and obvious kindness to me. It means so much at a very difficult time. I'm so grateful to you."

Family Law Client

"Janene was very professional and we established a good rapport quickly. The subject of death and wills can be quite confronting to deal with, however, Janene's approach was soft and accommodating."

Lynette Livesey

"A big thank you to HHG for their professional service, continued support, and wide range of legal knowledge. Our clients have given us nothing but kind words regarding HHG Legal Group and so we have no hesitation in referring and recommending Simon Creek and HHG Legal Group for their outstanding services and legal expertise."

Nigel Plowman, Director at McKinley Plowman & Associates

"Simon is a friendly and practical legal advisor. I have received great feedback from the clients I have referred to him and his team at HHG Legal Group."

Richard Beal, Director at BDO

"Over the last few years, I have been impressed by Simon’s legal ability, management skills, entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and people skills. He appears to be that rare breed of lawyer – both knowledgeable and commercial."

Michael Malone, Founder of iiNet

"Our family has been a client of HHG Legal Group over many years.  Business has included drawing up of wills for three generations and preparing of probate for my father in law. I would have no hesitation in recommending HHG Legal Group to anyone requiring such services."

Bernice Climie

"You should be congratulated for the manner in which your staff address clients and we found our dealings with your company, once again a very pleasant experience and we would like to truly thank you for your efforts."

Steve Harvey and Jane Powell

"HHG Legal were absolutely fantastic. Extremely responsive and brought calm to our chaotic family situation through their knowledge and caring attitude. Extremely professional from our very first contact with them and they expertly guided our family though the required legal process over almost a 12 month period."

Amanda Williamson

"Fantastic team! They really care about their client. Tim Colcutt is a 'go that extra mile' guy who gives his client his all. I can't recommend HHG and Tim enough."

Kerry Samson

"I had a fantastic lawyer in Anne Hurley. She helped me out a great deal with good, sound advice in a friendly, professional manner. First class, thanks Anne"

Graeme Hammond

"Marine Plant Systems has been working with HHG Legal Group for a few years now and they continually provide first-class service. Their professional advice has been invaluable to our company."

Carolin Grimm - Marine Plant Systems

"We were kept up to date at all times. Pricing was always updated over the time period so we remained "in budget". Personal access to someone whenever I had questions. All in all a great experience without too much fuss."

Rosslyn Tasker - COO AltusQ Pty Ltd

"Good service you can count on."

Miles Lee

"HHG Legal Group has provided outstanding support as I have taken the journey of buying a business, their professionalism is beyond reproach. Their assistance throughout the Due Diligence process has been invaluable, I would fully recommend them."

Mark Armitage

"Very friendly and efficient service - what a pleasure working with Anne."

Jacques Taylor

"I highly recommend Daniel from HHG Legal Mandurah. When dealing with a complicated legal property matter recently I was extremely impressed by Daniel's honesty and integrity and the legal advice I received. I am very happy with the service from HHG Legal."

Tony Walker

Select your location:

Please select your nearest office location so we can show you the most relevant information.