More than 'Revenge Porn' Civil Remedies for the Nonconsensual Distribution of Intimate Images

Suzie Dunn & Alessia Petricone-Westwood, More than “Revenge Porn” Civil Remedies for the Nonconsensual Distribution of Intimate Images, 2018 38th Annual Civil Litigation Conference 16, 2018 CanLIIDocs 10789

30 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2021

See all articles by Suzie Dunn

Suzie Dunn

University of Ottawa; Centre for Law, Technology and Society

Alessia Petricone-Westwood

Nelligan O’Brien Payne

Date Written: November 16, 2018

Abstract

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.

Keywords: non-consensual distribution of intimate images, revenge porn, technology-facilitated violence

Suggested Citation

Dunn, Suzie and Petricone-Westwood, Alessia, More than 'Revenge Porn' Civil Remedies for the Nonconsensual Distribution of Intimate Images (November 16, 2018). Suzie Dunn & Alessia Petricone-Westwood, More than “Revenge Porn” Civil Remedies for the Nonconsensual Distribution of Intimate Images, 2018 38th Annual Civil Litigation Conference 16, 2018 CanLIIDocs 10789, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3772050

Suzie Dunn (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Centre for Law, Technology and Society ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
Canada

Alessia Petricone-Westwood

Nelligan O’Brien Payne

Ottawa
Canada

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