The extent and nature of image-based sexual abuse among Australian youths: Perspectives from victims, perpetrators and bystanders

Scott, Adrian J.; Mainwaring, Chelsea; Flynn, Asher; Powell, Anastasia and Henry, Nicola. 2022. The extent and nature of image-based sexual abuse among Australian youths: Perspectives from victims, perpetrators and bystanders. In: H. Lim, ed. Interpersonal violence against children and youth. Washington, DC: Lexington Books, pp. 85-108. ISBN 9781793614339 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) involves the taking or sharing (including threats to share) of intimate (i.e., nude or sexual) images (i.e., photographs and/or videos) of another person without their consent. Although a growing body of research has examined the consensual sexting behaviors (i.e., the sending of intimate images) of youth, little research has examined young people’s experiences of IBSA (or ‘non-consensual sexting’ behaviors). This chapter presents
survey findings relating to the IBSA and intimate image sharing experiences of 293 Australian youth, aged between 16 and 20 years. The youth represent a subsample of 4,053 Australian residents, aged between 16 and 49 years, who responded to a larger survey developed as part of a research grant examining experiences of IBSA. The study is the first of its kind to examine the experiences of young people from victim, perpetrator and bystander perspectives; although it is important to acknowledge that these perspectives are not mutually exclusive (i.e., the same respondents may have been victims, perpetrators and/or bystanders). Overall, 1 in 4 respondents had been victims of IBSA, 1 in 10 had been perpetrators of IBSA, and 1 in 2 had been bystanders of intimate image sharing. The taking of intimate images was the most frequently reported form of IBSA for both victims and perpetrators, followed by the sharing of, and threats to share, intimate images. With regard to bystanders, the showing of intimate images was the most frequent form of intimate image sharing, followed by the sending of intimate images. These findings are discussed with respect to the need to challenge the current victim-blaming and harm minimization rhetoric associated with IBSA and intimate image sharing, particularly in the youth context.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit


1 October 2020Accepted
January 2022Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

20 Oct 2020 10:58

Last Modified:

18 Sep 2022 11:00


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