Revenge Porn – what is it? And how does it affect me?

What is revenge porn?

Revenge porn refers to the sharing of explicit or sexual images or videos, without the consent of the person in the image and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress. The offence applies both online and offline and to images which are shared electronically including uploading of the images on the internet, by text and email.

This is an issue amongst people of all ages from children as young as 11 to older adults. However, the most commonly reported incidents have come from those who are in their teens to adults in their mid-twenties. This is often due to lack of available information and support regarding the dangers and consequences of sharing explicit images.

When did this become an issue?

Reported cases of revenge porn have increased significantly within the last two years. With mobile phones becoming more intelligent and cameras being included as a standard feature on most models, sharing images has never been so quick and easy. This has led to an increase in people sharing intimate images with their partners via social media, text and other instant messaging services.

What are the effects of revenge porn?

When a relationship deteriorates and the break up is not an amicable one, some individuals may choose to use any explicit images that they have of their ex-partner against them as a means of “revenge” against the person who sent them. This can be extremely damaging, as such intimate and private images in most circumstances were intended to be seen by the recipient only. When such an image is shared with others and even the public, the person is then not in control of who sees the picture. This lack of control can leave them feeling humiliated. Originally, they might have trusted that partner enough to share personal content with them and be reassured that the recipient would not act so maliciously. A violation of trust such as this can leave a scar that could have the potential to affect the person psychologically and jeopardise future relationships.

What laws are in place for protection?

The law put in place in 2015 evolved from the domestic violence, misuse of communication and sexual offences acts. The act criminalises sharing private, sexual photographs or films, or where what has been shared would not usually be seen in public. Sexual material also includes anything that a reasonable individual would consider to be sexual, so this could be a picture of someone who is engaged in such behaviour or posing in a provocative way.

What has changed?

The big change is that there is now a specific offence for this practice and those found guilty of the crime could face a sentence of up to two years in prison. It is an offence for a person to disclose a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made

(a) without the consent of an individual who appears in the photograph or film, and

(b) with the intention of causing that individual distress.

This is included in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act of April 2015.

How can Safeline help those affected by revenge porn?

Safeline has helpline advisors and counsellors who are experienced in dealing with such cases and can offer support and advice without judgement.

If you or someone you know has been affected by revenge porn and are considering reporting your case, speak to Safeline for confidential advice and support.

Our ISVAs are able to help you if you have been through these experiences and will support you through every step of reporting your case. For more information about our ISVA follow this link: https://www.safeline.org.uk/what-we-do/isva-service/

The Act itself is here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/2/part/1/crossheading/offences-involving-intent-to-cause-distress-etc/enacted

 

 


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