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Is Revenge Porn a Crime?

Revenge porn is a criminal offence in Canada.

Revenge porn is a criminal offence in Canada.

Revenge porn is a crime in Canada. It is defined as the sexually explicit  portrayal of one or more people that is distributed without their consent via any medium.

These images are often acquired in the context of a romantic relationship between the person posting and the person depicted in the images. The online posting is done without the knowledge and consent of the subject, or it may be made without his or her knowledge. Typically “revenge porn” refers to circumstances where the relationship has ended and one partner has done to this to their ex-partner in an effort to humiliate them.

The possession of the material may be used by the perpetrators to blackmail the subjects into performing other sex acts, to coerce them into continuing the relationship, or to punish them for ending the relationship.

In 2014, with the passage of the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, Canada criminalized the “non-consensual distribution of intimate images” that were made under a “reasonable expectation of privacy”.

For committing such acts you may be charged with the criminal offence of voyeurism.

Voyeurism

  • 162 (1) Every one commits an offence who, surreptitiously, observes — including by mechanical or electronic means — or makes a visual recording of a person who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy, if
    • (a) the person is in a place in which a person can reasonably be expected to be nude, to expose his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or to be engaged in explicit sexual activity;
    • (b) the person is nude, is exposing his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or is engaged in explicit sexual activity, and the observation or recording is done for the purpose of observing or recording a person in such a state or engaged in such an activity; or
    • (c) the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose.
  • Definition of visual recording

(2) In this section, visual recording includes a photographic, film or video recording made by any means.

  • Marginal note:Exemption

(3) Paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) do not apply to a peace officer who, under the authority of a warrant issued under section 487.01, is carrying out any activity referred to in those paragraphs.

  • Marginal note:Printing, publication, etc., of voyeuristic recordings

(4) Every one commits an offence who, knowing that a recording was obtained by the commission of an offence under subsection (1), prints, copies, publishes, distributes, circulates, sells, advertises or makes available the recording, or has the recording in his or her possession for the purpose of printing, copying, publishing, distributing, circulating, selling or advertising it or making it available.

  • Marginal note:Punishment

(5) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (4)

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
  • Marginal note:Defence

(6) No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section if the acts that are alleged to constitute the offence serve the public good and do not extend beyond what serves the public good.

  • Marginal note:Question of law, motives

(7) For the purposes of subsection (6),

    • (a) it is a question of law whether an act serves the public good and whether there is evidence that the act alleged goes beyond what serves the public good, but it is a question of fact whether the act does or does not extend beyond what serves the public good; and
    • (b) the motives of an accused are irrelevant.
  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 162;
  •  R.S., 1985, c. 19 (3rd Supp.), s. 4;
  •  2005, c. 32, s. 6.
11 Jul 2017

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