Revenge Porn Made Illegal In The UK, Offenders To Get Two Years Jailtime

Revenge porn is on the verge of becoming a criminal offense in the United Kingdom. The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which has a specific amendment dealing with revenge porn, has received Royal Assent and will soon become law. According to BBC News, purveyors of revenge porn face up to two years in jail.

According to the Independent, revenge porn, which has been used to cause a person harm, to blackmail people into sex, and which has been used against children as young as 11, has been criminalized. The new law will cover revenge porn in England and Wales, but both Northern Ireland and Scotland are considering similar legislation.

Revenge porn is the act of sharing sexually explicit images or videos of a person without that person’s consent. In many cases, the porn images are acquired by a partner while in a relationship and then distributed without consent after a break-up.

Once taken, the private images are often shared using either social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube or uploaded to a range of porn websites that encourage public contributions.

According to Get Reading, the law will class revenge porn as “photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public.”

Reports about the new law against revenge porn come in the same week as a new charity helpline that was launched to help the victims of revenge porn. The specialist service, run by the South West Grid for Learning charity, provides victims of revenge porn with information on legal help available and their right to have the images removed from websites.

Revenge Porn

Folami Prehaye, founder of revenge porn support website voic.org.uk, said, “As a victim I felt isolated and felt embarrassed by what had happened to me.”

“If there was a helpline around at the time of my crime at least I could have talked to someone in confidence about how I was feeling, and how coming forward has affected my confidence.

“I set up my website to offer support to victims who made contact with me, and to encourage other women to come forward to raise their concerns and speak up about this crime. Now this helpline will help everyone that needs support and advice.”

Research has shown that the perpetrators of revenge porn are usually male. The victims are often young females who are embarrassed by friends and family seeing explicit images of them and do not know where to turn for help.

The Huffington Post reports that the effects of revenge porn on the victim are devastating. It’s not just the embarrassment and devastation after a betrayal by an ex-lover; many women fear they will lose their jobs — images are often shared with co-workers — or have their children taken into care if social services believe they are sex workers. Many report feeling unable to leave the house and losing relationships with friends and family members due to feeling ashamed and frightened.

Despite the new laws, the exact impact and prevalence of revenge porn is still unknown. Instances of revenge porn are believed to be rising, but statistics are woefully lacking. What we do know is that revenge porn is an industry and that there is a market for it. There are apparently more than 30 revenge porn websites in the UK alone, and searches for revenge porn on Google have rocketed since 2012.

[Image via Thegloss.com]