Home U.K Revenge porn attacks doubled in last two years

Revenge porn attacks doubled in last two years

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The firm said that nearly one in 10 people admitted they had shared or threatened to share an explicit image – more than twice the number in 2019. Of those, one in five said they “wanted to scare” the victim, a quarter said it was “just a laugh”, and a similar number believed the image was “their property” to share.

Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress became an offence in 2015 but those who even threaten to share such material could face two years in prison under a proposed change to the law.

The research found that 40 percent of the 2,000 people surveyed knew someone who had been the victim of revenge porn, up by nine percent on 2019.

Holly Atkins, a family lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “These numbers are deeply worrying. We had hoped that the offending behaviour would have decreased as the issue became more widely discussed and condemned within society.”

Ellesha Garner, who had non-consensual intimate videos of her uploaded to Pornhub, has joined other advocates to launch the My Image My Choice campaign.

The coalition is aiming to reform criminal law and close loopholes surrounding image-based sexual abuse (IBSA), which includes revenge porn, deepfakes and sextortion – when perpetrators coerce victims into creating and sharing intimate images.

Deepfakes are realistic computer-generated images or video, based on a real person.

Miss Garner, 25, described how her ordeal in 2018 “very nearly broke” her and caused anxiety, depression and a lack of self-confidence.

She said: “I didn’t know where to turn and what to do in the first instance but I quickly realised that I needed to report him to the police and hoped they would be able to help me.

“It became immediately apparent when I visited the police station to write my statement that they did not know how to deal with this. They weren’t sure how to gather the evidence and how to approach contacting the website for information.”

The service coordinator, from Ripley, in Derbyshire, continued: “When we [survivors] are brave and stand up to the people that do this to us, the flaws in the law mean the abusers are often not even charged, and we as the victims have our morals and actions questioned.”

The campaign, set up alongside filmmaker activists Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn and Elizabeth Woodward, hopes recognising IBSA as a sexual offence will grant survivors anonymity for life, and encourage more people to report it.

Miss Compton, 27, from Wiltshire, said: “I’m convinced that the problem is dramatically worse than our understanding of it. The prevalence of this is much greater than how it’s being recorded.

“I think part of the issue for that is because the law is so inadequate that people are just not coming forward. One of the other crucial issues is that because the law doesn’t grant anonymity for victims, many people don’t feel comfortable coming forward. Survivors of this crime don’t have recourse.”

The UK’s Government-funded revenge porn helpline experienced its busiest year on record last year, with campaigners saying the problem has been exacerbated by lockdown.

My Image My Choice compiled testimonials from survivors and presented them to the Law Commission who is reviewing the laws which apply to taking, making and sharing intimate images without consent. The consultation is open to the public until May 27.

The group’s petition to parliament calling for IBSA to be regarded as a sexual offence has amassed over 45,000 signatures and can be signed here.



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