The Government has announced that victims of “revenge porn” could now be offered more protection following the review of image based sexual abuse laws.

Suggestions have been made that the Government review the laws so that the victims are offered the same protection of anonymity as all the other sexual offences. The decision comes following complaints made by victims that they were left without access to justice through existing legislation.

In April 2015 a law was passed that made it an offence to share explicit images without consent in England and Wales and is categorised as a “communications crime“. This means that victims are not granted the same anonymity as other sexual abuse victims. A similar law was then later introduced in Northern Ireland and Scotland. The campaigners are requesting that victims of explicit images are granted automatic anonymity.

Ms Mortimer, manager of the Revenge Porn helpline, said she would:

“strongly encourage a move to make the disclosure of private images a sexual offence, guaranteeing victims anonymity and giving the necessary reassurance to come forward and make formal complaints. We would also like to see threats to share intimate images made a specific offence, the inclusion of manipulated images and images in underwear in the definition and the removal of the intention in order to cause distress.”

Justice Minister Paul Maynard said:

“No-one should have to suffer the immense distress of having intimate images taken or shared without consent. We are acting to make sure our laws keep pace with emerging technology and trends in these disturbing and humiliating crimes. The review will ensure that perpetrators will feel the full weight of the law”.

McGlynn, professor in law at Durham University who is an expert on image-based sexual abuse, has welcomed the review, but said that as well as the law reform, the Government needed to increase the resources available to support the victims of “revenge porn.”

Last year, US YouTuber Chrissy Chambers was awarded damages for her “revenge porn” case against an ex-boyfriend who posted videos online of them having sex in 2013.


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