‘Revenge porn’ crimes could lead to 14 years in prison in the UK

7 Oct 20142 Shares

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The UK Crown Prosecution Service has issued new legal guidelines for cases involving ‘revenge porn’, where intimate images or videos are posted online. People who post such material could face up to 14 years in prison.

With the rise of social media a disturbing new form of invasion known as revenge porn has arisen whereby images or video – often of a graphic and sexual nature – are broadcast online without the victim’s knowledge. In a lot of cases that have arisen, the perpetrators are ex-partners or in some cases it can be outright bullying.

The guidance pulls together a number of laws, ranging from the Communications Act 1988 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and the Protection of Children Act 1978 if the case involves victims under 18.

Victim impact

“No one should have to suffer the hurt and humiliation of ‘revenge pornography’ – a nasty and invasive crime that appears, anecdotally at least, to have increased as social media use has gone up,” a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said.

“The Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes these cases using a range of current laws, and we have now clarified our legal guidance to set out clearly how these cases should be brought to court.

“Due to the very personal nature of ‘revenge pornography’ prosecutors are being asked specifically to consider the impact on the victims involved.

“The new guidance also makes clear that the context of each case needs to be considered alongside current guidelines to ensure that the most appropriate legislation is used when prosecuting. The public, and indeed those intent on attacking former partners in this way, can now see clearly that this is a crime that can and will be prosecuted.

“The images are often accompanied by personal information including the pictured individual’s full name, links to social media profiles and address, and are shared with the intent to cause distress or harm to the individual,” the spokesperson said.

Shock image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com