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Monash Expert: AFL investigates distribution of explicit images of players online

Monash University 2 mins read

A Monash University expert is available to talk about the investigation into explicit images of AFL players that have been shared online without their consent. 


Available to comment: 


Dr Asher Flynn, Associate Professor of Criminology, Monash University

Contact details: +61 402 257 926, or
Read more of Dr Flynn’s commentary at Monash Lens 


  • AI-facilitated abuse (including "deepfakes")

  • Technology-facilitated abuse (including online harassment)

  • Image-based abuse ("revenge pornography")

  • Digital crime

The following can be attributed to Dr Flynn:


“Image-based abuse is a significant problem. Our study of 6,109 people aged 16-64 years across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom found that 1 in 3 participants reported having been a victim of image-based abuse and 1 in 6 participants reported having been a perpetrator of image-based abuse.


“Deepfakes are an increasing, harmful form of image-based abuse. Our same study found 14.1 per cent of participants had experienced deepfake abuse, with just under 8 per cent reporting perpetration. And with the tools for creating deepfakes becoming more accessible and easier to use, the rate and harms of this are likely to increase.


“The AFL investigation faces unique challenges. Police have reported a lack of cooperation from internet and telecommunication service providers in providing evidence and cross-jurisdiction barriers to detecting, apprehending, and prosecuting offenders. 


“However, the new powers of the eSafety Commissioner provide some comfort to the affected players, as they can compel the platforms where these images are being shared to take the content down within 24 hours or face significant fines and punishments. This doesn't mean the images won't be shared privately or on other platforms, and it doesn't mean the perpetrator(s) can or will be caught, or face consequences for these harmful actions.”


“Importantly, whether the non-consensually shared images are ‘real’ or they have been doctored, the harms to the players are the same, despite some claims they are less significant because the images are fake.


“Our research suggests that the players could experience mental health and psychological trauma, alongside feelings of humiliation, fear, embarrassment, reputational damage and shame.”

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