Revenge porn laws for victim compensation on cards for NSW

JILTED lovers who post online "revenge porn" could soon be sued under new laws before the New South Wales Government.

A Legislative Council committee has recommended giving recourse to victims of revenge porn and other serious breaches of privacy to seek legal damages from their tormenters.

It found current laws did not adequately cover the new kinds of invasion of privacy in the digital era.

"Privacy is an asset which cannot be recovered once it is lost," committee chairwoman Natasha Maclaren-Jones said.

"The impacts of that loss can be devastating.

"The committee considers that there is a clear need to ensure better protection of privacy, and to provide adequate remedies to people who experience a serious invasion of privacy.

"It also recommended that NSW Police take steps to ensure its officers receive appropriate training and education about the harms of technology-facilitated stalking, abuse and harassment and on the use of existing offences and apprehended violence orders in respect of this type of conduct."

As well as civil litigation, the committee recommended the NSW Privacy Commissioner be given powers to hear complaints and order non-financial forms of redress.

A look through the inquiry's submissions revealed most concerns related to neighbours' excessive use of security cameras.

But one woman, whose name was suppressed, shared her story of being humiliated by a health professional while undergoing gynecological surgery.

"My legs were in stirrups. Whilst I was in this position and under a general sedation the nurse in charge of looking after me took it upon herself to take photos of my genitals with her personal mobile phone," the woman said

"She did not have my permission to do so nor was there any therapeutic or medical justification for the photo.

"I was later informed that she then shared these images with her colleagues in the recovery room.

"I witnessed one of these showings as I came out of my sleep. My surgeon alerted me to the incident five weeks later.

"I do not know why the nurse took the photo and can only conclude that it was out of a desire to mock my physical appearance."

Police investigated but could not find an applicable law as they could not confidently argue it was done for sexual gratification or arousal, according to the submission.

"For your information the nurse is still working as a nurse in operating theatres, in a different hospital," the woman said.

"I have suffered the most humiliating nine months and only recently was the full horror of this incident adequately explained to me.

"If the nurse had been a man or acting for the purpose of sexual gratification, we could have done something many months ago."

The NSW Government says it will consider the committee's recommendations. -APN NEWSDESK



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