Intimate images and cyber-protection: support for victims
If you’ve been bullied online or had intimate pictures of you shared without your consent, you’re protected under the law.
The Intimate Images and Cyber-Protection Act aims to discourage people from bullying others online or by text or email, and from sharing intimate images of someone without their consent. The act also gives victims a way to respond when these things happen.
If you believe you are the victim of cyberbullying or that an intimate image of you was shared without your consent, CyberScan can help.
If this is an emergency, or if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call the Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line toll-free at 1-888-429-8167 or call 911. Or go to your nearest hospital, emergency department or police department.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is when someone uses electronic communication, like email, text messages or social media, to bully someone else.
The person responsible for the communication either maliciously harmed or wanted to harm someone’s health or well-being, or they did so without thinking or caring about the consequences of their actions.
Examples of cyberbullying include:
- revealing sensitive personal facts or confidential information about someone else
- threatening or intimidating another person
- communicating in a way that is grossly offensive, indecent, or obscene
- harassing another person
- making a false accusation
- assuming the online identity of another person
- encouraging another person to commit suicide
- criticizing or disparaging another person because of a prohibited ground of discrimination, like race, religion or sexual orientation
Cyberbullying also includes encouraging someone else to do any of these things.
What is an intimate image?
An intimate image is a visual recording of a person. This includes photographs, films or videos in which a person depicted in the image is nude, exposing their genitals or anal region, exposing her breasts or is engaged in explicit sexual activity.
What does it mean to share an intimate image without consent?
Sharing an intimate image without consent means posting or sharing the image without permission of the person depicted in the image or being reckless as to whether that person permitted it to be shared.
Reckless means not thinking or caring about the consequences of your actions. Being reckless as to whether a person consented means not bothering to find out if the person consented.
How you’re protected
If you’re a victim of cyberbullying or unwanted sharing of intimate images, you are protected under the law.
The Intimate Images and Cyber-Protection Act aims to discourage people from bullying others online or by text or email, and from sharing intimate images of someone without their consent.
The act also gives victims a way to respond when these things happen.
Options available to you
You can get help from the CyberScan Unit or get an order from the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
CyberScan staff can help victims find a solution to a dispute involving cyber-bullying or the sharing of intimate images.
They can contact the person who shared the images or cyberbullied the victim to try to resolve the matter informally using dispute resolution, including advice, negotiation, mediation and restorative practices. These services are voluntary, so you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to. CyberScan can also help victims navigate the justice system and understand their options.
If you’re a victim of cyberbullying or unwanted sharing of intimate images, or a parent or guardian of a victim under the age of 19, you can also apply to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for a cyber-protection order.
A cyber-protection order can be issued to stop the bullying or image-sharing. These orders can:
- forbid someone from sharing an intimate image
- forbid someone from posting communications that would be considered cyberbullying
- forbid someone from contacting the victim in the future
- order a person to take down or disable access to an intimate image or communication
- declare that an image is an intimate image or that communication is cyberbullying
- refer the parties to dispute resolution
- award damages to the victim
What you need to know about the Intimate Images and Cyber-Protection Act
For more information on cyberbullying and the unwanted sharing of intimate images or how to apply for a cyber-protection order, read What you need to know about the Intimate Images and Cyber-Protection Act (PDF).