Introducing Vice-Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow: Assoc. Prof. Nicola Henry

Image-based abuse, deepfakes and harassment online.

Associate Professor Nicola Henry’s research centres on how the internet and technology have created a breeding ground for new forms of abuse. Namely, image-based abuse, which is colloquially known as, “revenge porn”.

She leads the Australian Research Council funded project on image-based abuse which is exploring the issue across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. The project includes a cross section of various stakeholders across services effected by image-based abuse and victim-survivors whose experiences are used to influence policy and practice in the area.

Nicola also writes on the latest occurrences of abuse as it happens on the internet. The latest being “deepfakes” or videos, often pornographic, of real people stitched onto other peoples bodies. The rise of Artificial Intelligence has created ways for people to create fake porn with little more than time and a decent computer. This has seen both interesting uses of the technology with Barak Obama’s face being used to give speeches he never did and more nefarious uses such as, the creation of non-consensual pornography of friends, colleagues, ex-partners and complete strangers, all of which are posted online and made publicly available.

As well as exploring the issues of online abuse, Nicola often give advice on what victims can do when their images have been shared online and comments on Governmental policy around the introduction of pending legislation to criminalise image-based abuse.

Nicola’s most recent work is for the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on technology facilitated abuse amongst culturally and linguistically diverse women. The research project includes Dr Asher Flynn from Monash University and the Social Research Centre.

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