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The eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) commissioned the Social Research Centre in conjunction with leading academic experts from RMIT and Monash Universities to undertake research to explore and understand the beliefs, motivations and attitudes of adults who have engaged in image-based abuse (IBA). This report provides the findings of this research, which was conducted with individuals engaged in perpetrating IBA, and stakeholders who provide intervention services to perpetrators of IBA.

The aims of this research are to:

  • explore why individuals decide to non-consensually capture, distribute or threaten to distribute intimate images
  • identify and examine the therapeutic intervention programs in Australia that treat, educate or support perpetrators of IBA
  • explore awareness and understanding among frontline professionals of IBA behaviour, and their perceptions of the efficacy of current therapeutic programs in reducing recidivism.

Key findings:

  • Perpetrators demonstrated little remorse and downplayed their actions through minimisation, tending to blame the victim or even deny responsibility.
  • With the exception of those involved in taking images of strangers and the taking and sharing of child exploitation images, few were aware that their behaviour was against the law.
  • There was a strong sense that on-sharing intimate images without consent was fairly commonplace and becoming somewhat normalised. Some perpetrators highlighted that they were aware of ‘numerous people’ getting away with similar actions.
  • The research also highlights the need to see more action to disrupt the normalising culture around image-based abuse.
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