Canadian revenge porn law puts proof burden on perpetrators

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A new law in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan allows victims to directly sue perpetrators of “revenge porn,” the process of sharing sexual images or videos of someone without their consent.

The burden of proof, or providing evidence of the instance, falls to the perpetrator under the new legislation, (CBC). The person accused of distributing images will have to provide evidence that they obtained consent to share the image.

Plaintiffs will also have the option of bringing a case of revenge porn to more courts. Previously lawsuits filed under The Privacy Act were required to proceed only in the Court of Queen’s Bench, the province’s superior court. Cases can now also be carried out in the Small Claims Court.

Saskatchewan justice minister and attorney general Don Morgan said the new legislation will provide victims with the ability to take “direct court action” against perpetrators.

“Our government wants to take strong steps to protect people who have been victimized by having intimate images shared without consent,” he said.

According to Saskatchewan law, an intimate image is defined as, “a visual image, including photos or videos, in which a person is nude, partially nude, or engaged in explicit sexual activity”. The image will have been taken under circumstances that suggested “a reasonable expectation of privacy”.

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