New amendments to intimate image abuse laws announced
On June 27th, 2023, significant amendments were announced regarding intimate image abuse laws, aiming to simplify the process of charging and convicting individuals who share intimate images without consent.
These amendments remove the requirement for prosecutors to prove the perpetrator’s intent to cause distress when sharing intimate images. Amendments will be implemented alongside the Online Safety Bill, making the non-consensual sharing of intimate images a base offense with a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment. Under the updated legislation, intent to cause distress, embarrassment, alarm, or to obtain sexual gratification will lead to a sentence of up to two years in prison. Additionally, individuals found guilty of sharing intimate images for sexual gratification may be added to the sex offender register.
Amendments also extend the scope of the law to cover the sharing of deepfake pornography, which involves digitally manipulating images to create a false impression that a person is nude, semi-nude, or participating in a sexual act.
Changes are in place following the work of campaigners, Georgia Harrison and Dame Maria Miller MP, as well as recommendations from the Law Commission. The amendments aim to provide better support to individuals and bring perpetrators of intimate image abuse to justice.
Sophie Mortimer (Revenge Porn Helpline Manager) said:
The Law Commission made substantial recommendations last year for an overhaul of the law around the sharing of intimate images without consent, recognising that the law as it stood was not providing the justice necessary for victims of this abhorrent and devastating crime.
We are delighted that the government has committed to include these changes in the Online Safety Bill. Through the cases we manage at the Revenge Porn Helpline, we know that women and girls are disproportionately affected by this behaviour and greater protections for them, and effective prosecution of perpetrators, are a significant step towards better justice outcomes for all.
There is, however, more to do. Currently there is no right for victims to have their intimate content removed from the internet post-conviction, an injustice that is still not covered by law. We would hope that this is still actively addressed to better support those experiencing intimate image abuse.
If you have been affected by intimate image abuse, you can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline on 0345 6000 459, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Helpline is open between 10:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).