The State Government is proposing to extend current laws that criminalise the distribution of intimate and pornographic images of another person without their consent.

Attorney-General John Rau said the Government has given notice in Parliament today to introduce a Bill that will crackdown on so called “revenge porn” and would make those who threatened to send a sexual image of another person a criminal offence.

“These new laws target people who not only distribute explicit images for the purpose of revenge, but also those who threaten to distribute an invasive image,” Mr Rau said.

“Under proposed changes outlined in the Summary Offences (Filming and Sexting Offences) Amendment Bill 2016, a person who threatens to send such an image would face up to a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a $10,000 fine if convicted.

“The fast emerging phenomena of ‘revenge porn’, the sending by both adults and children of sexually explicit images or messages via mobile phone, is a worrying trend for the community.

“A new offence of sending a picture depicting a person 17 years or under would now carry a maximum penalty of $20,000 or four years imprisonment.”

The Bill will provide prosecuting authorities with greater flexibility and a wider range of offences to better reflect the varying nature of such offending.

Public consultation was sought on the draft Bill earlier this year.

Mr Rau said it was dangerous to assume that young offenders who deal with explicit materials depicting a minor are simply naïve or misguided.

“These images can all too often be used as means of bullying, harassment or revenge,” he said.

“Once an image hits cyber space, it is there forever, and young people need to understand this.

“Though legislation alone will not solve this complex issue, the new law has a major role to respond to changes in technology and society and declare the boundaries of appropriate conduct.”