The New Zealand police force are warning the public of an increase in extortion cases of young people, which involve sexual content of the victim. Offshore offenders are targeting young victims by trying to blackmail them for money after extorting sexual content from them. Although the police are mainly warning minors, many people of legal age are also vulnerable to sextortion and revenge porn. In an RNZ article, Victoria University criminologist Jan Jordan said “It’s assumed that there is an increased risk because of age and vulnerability. I think we need to be careful not to always assume that youth brings with it automatic risk, and that old age brings automatic invincibility”.
Currently in Aotearoa, under the Harmful Digital Communications Act (2015), perpetrators who post explicit digital communications (photos, videos) with the intention of harming the victim can face up to two years in prison, or a fine of up to $50,000. However, this looks more at concepts such as revenge porn, which is the malicious posting of sexual imagery or videos to cause detriment to the victim. A Netsafe survey in 2019 found that 95% of the victims of revenge porn were women, and that 5% of Aotearoa’s adults had been a victim of image-based revenge porn.
In 2021, the ACC system also came under question as to how it deals with victims of revenge porn who require mental health assistance. The organisation is supposed to cover victims of sexual abuse; however, only under the crimes listed in Schedule 3 of the ACC Act (taken from the Crimes Act 1961) were included, which only covers in-person victims of sexual assault.