What to Do if Someone Shares Your Intimate Images
About this publication
This publication provides information about the distribution of intimate images without consent and the civil court process on Prince Edward Island.
Intimate images are sexually explicit photos and videos that show someone nude, partially nude, or doing a sexual act.
You can read our publication Sexting and the Law for more information about youth, cyberbullying, and sexting.
This publication is made possible with the generous support of the Prince Edward Island Department of Justice and Public Safety.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are Intimate Images?
Intimate images are sexually explicit photos and videos that show someone nude, partially nude, or doing a sexual act. Intimate images do not need to show your face or who you are. They can also be created or altered images.
Can I consent to my image being shared then change my mind?
Yes. Consent is a voluntary, informed, and continuous agreement to participate in any sexual act. Consent is necessary for any sexual activity, online or in person. If you consent to your intimate image being shared, then withdraw that consent, you must communicate the withdrawal of consent with the person who shared your image. The person who shared the image must then make every reasonable effort to destroy all copies of the image, remove the image from any website or online platform, and de-index the image from any search engine.
What legal options does the Act give me?
If someone shared or threatened to share an intimate image of you without your consent, you can file an application or a claim with the Supreme Court of PEI.
Applications and Claims allow you to ask the court for remedies. Remedies include:
- Declaring the threat or distribution of the image unlawful.
- Preventing the person from distributing the image.
- Ordering the person to destroy and/or delete all of their copies of the image.
- Ordering the person to make every reasonable effort to remove the image from the internet.
- Ordering internet service providers, social media companies, or search engines to make every reasonable effort to remove or de-index the image.
- Ordering the payment of damages.
You can find more remedies in the Intimate Images Protection Act.
What is the difference between an Application and a Claim?
If you file an application or a claim, you:
An application requires fewer steps than a claim, but a claim allows you to ask for more damages.Parents or guardians acting on behalf of a minor can only file an application under the Act. If a parent or guardian is looking to file a Claim on behalf of a minor, they must see Rule 7.01 or the Rules of Civil Procedure.
- File different forms.
- Present evidence in different ways.
- Ask for different damages.
What if I am under 18?
Possessing, accessing, or distributing sexual images or written material of someone under 18 is child pornography and is illegal. The police may get involved.
If you are under 18, your parent/guardian may file an application but not a claim on your behalf under the Act. If a parent or guardian is looking to file a Claim on behalf of a minor, they must see Rule 7.01 or the Rules of Civil Procedure.
Will my identity be kept private?
When you apply under the Act, a temporary publication ban is put in place. A publication ban stops your name and/or identifying information from being published or broadcast. The ban also applies to the defendant and other people involved.
The ban is in effect until the court decides if it will issue an order prohibiting the publication of names. This order prevents the publication of the names or identifying information of anyone involved in the case. It is only issued if the court believes it is in the interest of justice.
If someone under 18 is involved in the case, their name and identifying information are not published. The ban continues after the person reaches 18. The minors involved can apply to the court to remove the ban after they turn 18.
Is there a time limit for taking legal action?
The Intimate Images Protection Act does not state a limitation period. But the PEI Statute of Limitations states a two-year limitation period for claims that include similar damages.
Limitation periods start from the time you discover or reasonably should have discovered the harm. For example, discovering that your intimate images were shared.
If you need legal advice from a lawyer, contact the RISE Program.