World first study on 'revenge porn'

La Trobe University will lead the first international study on image-based sexual abuse, also known as ‘revenge pornography’.

The project will investigate the prevalence, nature and effects of nude, sexual or sexually explicit images being created or distributed without consent across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

La Trobe University lead researcher Dr Nicola Henry said this study would, for the first time, hear first-hand from people across three countries about their experiences as victims of revenge porn.

“We know that the impacts of image-based sexual abuse can be very serious, but little is known about how widespread this behaviour is, how it impacts on victims or why perpetrators are motivated to engage in this sort of behaviour,” Dr Henry said.

“The study will shed new light on the social, economic and psychological impacts on an international scale through one-on-one interviews with victims, and through representative surveys in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.”

Dr Henry said the research would address knowledge gaps across four key areas, which are currently weakening law reform efforts:

- Very little qualitative research looking at the experiences and impacts on victims;
- Theoretical frameworks for understanding the phenomenon remain undeveloped;
- Limited analysis of specific criminal legislation from a cross-jurisdictional perspective; and
- Little research overall on the prevalence and impacts in Australia and internationally.

“This key international research aims to shed more light on this issue and the scope and adequacy of existing responses.”

“We will identify what law, policy and educational reforms are needed to address this social issue and build on current research”

La Trobe is collaborating with Monash University, RMIT University, Durham University, the University of Birmingham and the University of Auckland for the study.

Media contact: Michelle Zydower 0423 028 564

Find an expert

Search our experts database.