Civil and Criminal Remedies

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If an intimate image of you was distributed without your permission, you may be able to seek both civil and criminal remedies.

When someone shares an intimate image of you without your permission, they are committing a crime. Under section 162 of the Criminal Code, anyone who publishes, posts or distributes an intimate image without consent is guilty of a criminal offence and can be imprisoned for up to five years. If an intimate image of you has been shared without your permission, it is your right to contact the police and pursue charges against the person who distributed the image.

Along with contacting the police and pursuing criminal charges, you may be able to bring civil action against the person who shared the image. Through civil action, you can claim monetary damages and seek compensation for the harm you have endured. The legal option of claiming damages through civil action for the non-consensual distribution of intimate images has been recently recognized in multiple provinces, including Ontario, as well as internationally, in countries including the United States and Australia. Although civil action for the non-consensual distribution of an intimate image represents a fairly new area of law, the courts have shown that they view this development as an appropriate response to a growing problem enabled by technology.

When determining which legal remedy you would like to proceed with, you should consider the differing procedures involved in criminal and civil cases. For instance, in criminal cases, you will likely have less control over the image or video in question once it becomes evidence in a criminal investigation. This, however, should not stop you from seeking justice. Once an intimate photo or video is posted without your permission, you should take legal action and criminal charges provide an opportunity for the person who posted the image to face consequences for their actions. 

If you have questions about your legal options and remedies available, contact our legal team for more information

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