Revenge Porn

A new, fast-spreading phenomenon related to sexting is “revenge porn”. It is the online distribution of nude and topless photos without consent in an effort to humiliate and hurt targets, mostly females. People have often found it difficult to have pictures removed from the internet. Many sites where the images are hosted are based outside the UK, and requests to remove content are often ignored.

In April 2017, the new law on revenge porn in Scotland came into force under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act 2016. The maximum penalty for disclosing or threatening to disclose an intimate photo or video is 5 years’ imprisonment. The offence includes images taken in private where someone was nude or only in underwear or showing a person engaged in a sexual act.

Revenge porn is also a criminal offence in the England and Wales. Israel was the first country in the world to make it illegal and treat it as a sex crime. The penalty, if convicted, is up to 5 years in jail. Brazil has also introduced a bill to make it illegal. In the United States, New Jersey and California are taking the lead to the same end. In Canada, a 17-year old girl was convicted of possession of child pornography after she circulated nude photos of her boyfriend’s ex girlfriend in a fit of jealousy.

Resources to help include the Revenge Porn Helpline and Scottish Women’s Aid.

This is a general guide to the law and does not constitute legal advice.

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