November 9, 2021
Fredericton (GNB) – The New Brunswick Women’s Council is pleased that government has introduced the Unlawful Distribution of Intimate Images Act and that the act closely mirrors the Uniform Law Conference of Canada’s Uniform Non-Consensual Disclosure of Intimate Images Act.
“The non-consensual distribution of intimate images is a form of sexual and gender-based violence that disproportionately affects women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals,” said council co-chair Jennifer Richard. “Victims and survivors of this violence experience distress and trauma, reputational harm, and financial repercussions.”
The Women’s Council has recommended that, if this bill becomes law, government implement concrete supports for victims to increase the accessibility of this avenue for relief.
“Litigation will not be a viable option for many victims due to the cost, lack of familiarity with the civil system, and distrust of any legal system’s ability to effectively and equitably address gender-based violence and sexual violence in particular,” said council co-chair Myriam Mekni. “Government must fund the creation of public education resources and legal aid services for complainants under this law. These supports will be critical to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalized victims have equitable access to this path forward.”
The Women’s Council has reminded government that implementation of this law must also be situated within broader work on sexual violence in New Brunswick, including increased funding for Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in New Brunswick: A Framework for Action.
A backgrounder on the harm and impact of non-consensual distribution of intimate images, as well as the value of civil legislation on this issue, is available here.
The New Brunswick Women’s Council is an independent public advisory body on women’s equality issues.
Media contact: Beth Lyons, Executive Director, New Brunswick Women’s Council, 506-429-3948, [email protected]