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Province introducing legislation to combat sextortion

The B.C. government is introducing the Intimate Images Protection Act in an effort to better protect people from the harmful effects of having their intimate images shared without their consent.

The legislation covers intimate images, near-nude images, videos and live streams as well as digitally altered images and videos known as deep fakes.

“Having your intimate images shared without your permission is a betrayal that can have devastating impacts,” said Attorney General Niki Sharma in a release.

“Victims are often too ashamed to come forward and those who do are met with limited, complex and expensive legal options. We are building a path to justice for people to regain control of their private images and hold perpetrators to account.”

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Provincial officials said the legislation will speed up the process of getting a legal decision that an intimate image was recorded or distributed without consent and get it taken off the internet quicker.

It also includes ordering people to stop distributing or threatening to distribute intimate images.

The legislation is supposed to make it easier for minors to pursue legal action and offer a clearer, legal avenue for lawsuits to seek monetary damages.

“For some young people, the embarrassment and ridicule that can come with the distribution of personal, intimate images can be all-encompassing,” said Carol Todd, whose teenage daughter Amanda died by suicide 10 years ago due to online sexual exploitation and cyberbullying.

“I hope this legislation helps young people connect to the supports they need to take back control of their lives and from taking action against crimes, such as sexual exploitation, for such a long time.”

In 2020, Stats Canada reported an 80 per cent increase in incidents reported to police compared to the previous five years.

Files by Josiah Spyker, My East Kootenay Now

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