Policing image-based sexual abuse: stakeholder perspectives

Nicola Henry, Asher Flynn, Anastasia Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) refers to the non-consensual recording, distribution, or threat of distribution, of nude or sexual images. Over the past five years, numerous jurisdictions have amended their criminal laws to respond more effectively to this growing phenomenon, yet increased criminalization has not automatically translated into increased prosecutions. Drawing on stakeholder interviews with 52 Australian legal and policy experts, domestic and sexual violence advocates, industry representatives, police, and academics, this article examines law enforcement responses to IBSA in Australia. We argue that although there is evidence to suggest IBSA is being treated more seriously by police, there are five primary barriers to responding to IBSA, including: inconsistent laws; a lack of resources; evidentiary limitations; jurisdictional boundaries; and victim-blaming or harm minimization attitudes. Suggestions are made for how to respond to these challenges to facilitate more effective policing of IBSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-581
Number of pages17
JournalPolice Practice and Research: An International Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • Image-based sexual abuse
  • non-consensual sharing of intimate images
  • policing
  • revenge pornography
  • technology-facilitated sexual violence

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