Australian government invests AU$4.8m into revenge porn reporting tool

The Australian government is building an online tool for victims of revenge porn to report cases where intimate images and videos have been shared without consent.

The Turnbull government is investing AU$4.8 million to combat the distribution of non-consensual intimate images and videos -- a phenomenon commonly referred to as "revenge porn".

The funding will be used to develop an online platform that will allow people to report cases where a photo or video of a sexual nature or one which depicts nudity is shared or distributed without consent. The platform will also allow victims of revenge porn to access "immediate and tangible" support.

The initiative is part of the government's Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, which is backed by AU$100 million in Australian government funding.

The online reporting tool will be managed by the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner, which has already established an online portal to assist cyberbullying victims.

The new reporting tool is expected to be launched next year.

The eSafety Commissioner also manages the existing eSafetyWomen website, which offers resources to help women manage technology risks and abuse. The eSafetyWomen website was established with a AU$2.1 million funding commitment from the Turnbull government's Women's Safety Package announced in September 2015.

Earlier this month, senators Nick Xenophon and Skye Kakoschke-Moore of the Nick Xenophon Team raised the idea of dropping the age-restrictive word "Children's" from the name of the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner, saying that it may prevent young people who are affected by revenge porn from seeking out the office for help.

The idea was not dismissed by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, though no decision has been made yet.

The Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner said it responded to 70 serious cyberbullying complaints in the three months to September 2016, representing a 75 increase over the same period last year.

The office was established in July 2015 and has the power to fine social media companies for not removing content deemed to be of a bullying, offensive, or illegal nature.

Also announced on Friday were stricter punishments for perpetrators of revenge porn in South Australia. Anyone who sends, or threatens to send, an "indecent" or "invasive" image of anyone under the age of 17 can land a jail sentence of up to two years or a AU$100,000 fine.

Threats against adults now have a maximum penalty of one year in jail or a AU$5,000 fine in South Australia.

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