Threatening to share revenge porn? You’ll now face up to two years in prison

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  • Videoing or capturing revenge porn has been illegal since 2015, but threatening the victim with sharing the content has not

    It’s been announced today that the law is to change with regard to revenge porn.

    You will now face up to two years in prison if you threaten to share sexual images – or videos – of a person without their consent. 

    The Government has confirmed the move comes following years of campaigning from charities, publications and victims alike. Former Love Island star Zara McDermott has just starred in a BBC Three show on the matter, documenting her own experience as a revenge porn victim not once, but twice.

    Perpetrators who threaten to share what’s called ‘revenge porn’ – this spans sharing any sexual photos deemed as private without prior consent – risk imprisonment.

    The law change comes as many amendments are made to the Domestic Abuse bill, which enters ‘report stage’ next week.

    Royal Assent – that is, when a monarch formally approves an act of the legislature – is expected to be granted over the next few months.

    Refuge was one of the charities calling for changes to be made to the law. Their Naked Threat campaign, which was backed by the Victims Commissioner and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, urged the Government to make a simple legal change ‘that would make a huge difference to the everyday lives of the women and girls Refuge supports’.

    Research on the charity’s website reveals shocking stats – as many as one in seven young women in the UK have been subject to such threats. Plus, the Revenge Porn Helpline saw a 87% increase in the number of adults seeking help last year.

    While it’s true that videoing or capturing revenge porn has been illegal in England and Wales since 2015, threatening the victim with sharing the content hasn’t been.

    Natasha Saunders, who was threatened with revenge porn herself, called the law change a ‘huge victory for women like me.’

    She said: “I was terrified of the consequences and it had a huge impact on me. I am now free from my abuser but every day I know that there are millions of women experiencing the things I was forced to endure for so long. I am so pleased that the Government has not only listened to survivors of domestic abuse, but also acted on what they heard.”

    Following the news, Refuge charity also said: “Thousands of women will now have the protection they deserve.”

    Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP said: “This Bill provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen our response to domestic abuse and its many forms.”

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