non-consensual distribution of intimate images, revenge porn, technology-facilitated violence, civil remedies
The non-consensual distribution of intimate images, or “revenge porn” as it is colloquially known, is a growing phenomenon in the digital era that has devastated the lives of countless individuals. Targets of this conduct have suffered both short and long-lasting harms that have had serious repercussions on their mental health, physical well-being, and safety. Once their intimate images have been shared without their consent, they can face damage to their personal and professional reputations. There are reported cases where individuals have lost their jobs, have had to relocate, were stalked and harassed, experienced some form of emotional trauma, and had their privacy violated after their images were shared. It is a jarring experience to say the least. Most want the images taken off down as soon as possible, but attempting to remove the images from the Internet can be a costly endeavor. This collection of harms and damages beg for a civil remedy. As a result, some individuals have begun turning to the civil courts to seek remedies for the damages they have incurred. This paper explores some civil remedies that may be available for individuals who have had their intimate images shared without their consent, but is no way an exhaustive list of civil actions or remedies that may be available.
In four parts, this paper (1) introduces and describes common manifestations of this problematic behavior, (2) outlines a selection of civil remedies that are available to individuals who have had their intimate images shared without their consent, (3) reviews some remedies and relief that may be available; and (4) provides useful practice tips for lawyers serving clients who have had their intimate images shared without consent. It also includes an appendix with information on civil legislation in other Canadian jurisdictions, the criminal response to this behavior, and links to organizations that are addressing the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
Suzie Dunn & Alessia Petricone-Westwood, "More than “Revenge Porn” Civil Remedies for the Nonconsensual Distribution of Intimate Images" (Paper delivered at 38th Annual Civil Litigation Conference 16, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, 16-17 November 2018), 2018 CanLIIDocs 10789, online: < https://www.canlii.org/en/commentary/doc/2018CanLIIDocs10789 > [perma.cc/QQ7S-5FSW].
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