A national study has shown one in five Australians have been the victim of “revenge porn”, and LGBTI people are the most at risk.

Also known as “image-based abuse”, revenge porn occurs when an ex-partner distributes explicit images without consent, usually as a means of humiliation.

The study, conducted by RMIT and Monash Universities, found men were more likely to be victims, but men and women were equally likely to be targeted. Female victims were more likely to hold fears for their safety.

One in five people surveyed had an explicit photo taken of them without permission, and 11 per cent had their image shared without consent.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual people were more likely to be victims, with 36 per cent reporting revenge porn compared to 21 per cent of straight respondents.

Other minority groups such as Indigenous people and people with disabilities were also at greater risk.

“Image-based abuse has emerged so rapidly as an issue that inevitably our laws and policies are struggling to catch up,” said researcher Dr Nicola Henry in a release.

“This is not just about ‘revenge porn’—images are being used to control, abuse and humiliate people in ways that go well beyond the ‘relationship gone sour’ scenario.”

The researchers recommended a range of legal reforms and improved support services for victims.

Victoria and South Australia are the only states with laws making distributing images without consent illegal.

© Star Observer 2017 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.