BC Intimate Images Protection Act now in force
A new Intimate Images Protection Act to help people in BC who have had their intimate images shared without their consent is now in effect.
The province, in partnership with the Civil Resolution Tribunal, has launched services that allow those who have had images shared without consent access supports to get them off the internet, stop their distribution and seek monetary compensation. To reduce barriers, anyone aged 14 and older can apply to the tribunal for a protection order. It is not necessary to involve a parent or adult unless by choice.
The Civil Resolution Tribunal is Canada’s first online tribunal and is part of the BC public justice system. With the new legislation, the tribunal will now have the power to order a person, social media company or website to stop distribution and remove an intimate image from its platform. The tribunal can also order individuals who do not follow an order to stop sharing images fines of up to $500 per day. Websites can face fines of up to $5,000 per day for not complying with an order.
The province is also launching the Intimate Images Protection Service to ensure victims have dedicated services to support them. The service includes emotional support, information and resources; help applying to the tribunal, and assistance in communicating protection orders issued by the tribunal.
The legislation covers intimate images, near-nude images, videos, livestreams and digitally altered images, or deepfakes.
There were seven reports of extortion related to intimate images made to Revelstoke RCMP in 2023. Revelstoke RCMP staff sergeant Chris Dodds told StokeFM that in all instances reported the victim was male. Of those, 25 per cent of the victims were under the age of 18.
School District 19 Revelstoke, in collaboration with Revelstoke ScreenSmart, recently hosted a series of digital parenting talks presented by Scott Rothermel of Safer Schools Together. One of the presentations focused on sexting, sextortion and the sexual age of consent.
Revelstoke Schools superintendent Roberta Kubik said during Rothermel’s presentation, she was surprised to learn that in the majority of cases, the victim being targeted is male.
“The predator online will say, ‘I know where you’ve been in your computer. I see that you’re always in your room.’ Or, ‘you’re here and I know what images you’ve been looking at, so I’m going to tell you’re grandparents or your parents or your community unless you send me $50. And then it’s $100. But that is a new trend and parents may not know that,” said Kubik.
Cybertip.ca, a national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children notes that in cases where gender is known, 90 per cent of victims are male. In the majority of cases boys are extorted for money, while girls are extorted for more images.
Along with presentations to help parents, and the broader community, begin the conversation on sextortion, Revelstoke students are also supported through collaborative community partnerships.
“We’re very fortunate. We have school counsellors. We have mental health leads in each of our schools and we have [Ministry of Children and Family Development] that comes into our schools. We have doctors in town come to our schools and have offices [in the schools]. So we do have very many entry points where our kids can go and get help,” said Kubik
In 2020, Statistics Canada reported an 80 per cent increase in incidents reported to police of non-consensual sharing of images across the country compared to the previous five years. From 2014-2020, 48 per cent of youth victims of non-consensual distribution of intimate images were victimized by an intimate partner or friend.
For more information on how to protect your images visit takebackyourimages.gov.bc.ca/