If an intimate image of you was distributed without your permission, you are not alone. With the rise in popularity of social media and technology, the non-consensual dsitributio of intimate images has become increasingly common. A study conducted by the Civil Rights Initiative in 2017 found that one in eight people have reported being subjected to this form of abuse.
If you’ve had your image distributed without your permission, you might find yourself questioning your decision to send it in the first place. And you might be reluctant to tell anyone else about the situation because of the potential for judgment and stigma and victim-blaming that happens.
We’re here to tell you that you have done nothing wrong. It’s the jerk who distributed it without consent who’s done something wrong. We share all sorts of intimate things with people we trust. Choosing to trust someone with an intimate image isn’t wrong. Sharing that image outside the boundaries of that relationship, however… that’s absolutely wrong and should attract legal consequences (at least!).
In recent years, the law in Canada has started to develop in response to the issue of intimate images being distributed without consent. In 2014, the Federal Government took a fundamental step towards recognizing the harm caused by the non-consensual sharing of an intimate image by adding a specific provision in the Criminal Code. Under section 162.1 (1) of the Criminal Code, anyone who publishes, posts or distributes an intimate image without consent is guilty of a criminal offence and can be imprisoned for up to five years. A number of Provinces have passed legislation creating a civil right of action against those who have distributed intimate images without consent. And Ontario Courts have also started down the road of recognising such a right of action as a matter of common law.
In addition, beginning in 2016, Courts across Canada have started to recognize the importance of allowing people to bring civil actions against the person who distributed an intimate image without the consent of the subject of that photo. By allowing for civil action, the Courts have begun to acknowledge that people deserve to seek compensation for the harm that they have experienced as a result of their photo being distributed without their consent. This is a relatively new and developing area of law, but we’re here to help.
For more information, please request a consultation. Your information will be kept confidential.