Threats to Share Intimate Images to Become a Crime
This blog looks at the Domestic Abuse Bill and what new laws have been brought in to protect victims. We also hear from the Revenge Porn Helpline which supports victims of intimate image abuse.
Last week the Domestic Abuse Bill received Royal Assent in Parliament marking a huge step forward in protection for victims of domestic abuse and violence. One of the new provisions makes threatening to share intimate images a crime with perpetrators facing prison if found guilty. There is also more definition around domestic abuse with non-fatal strangulation being made illegal and the ‘rough sex’ defence outlawed. Until now, the sharing of intimate images without consent was illegal, the threat to share was not included yet carried serious impact for victims.
Threatening to share someone’s intimate images can cause considerable distress and anxiety for the victim. It is a tactic often carried out in abusive relationships to coerce and maintain a perpetrator’s control. Over 20% of cases to the Revenge Porn Helpline involve a threat to share an intimate image, with 75% of these victims being female.
With over six years’ experience supporting those who need it most, the helpline is aware of what a significant step forward this is for protecting victims of intimate image abuse. Sophie Mortimer, Revenge Porn Helpline Manager, says:
“We know from experience the devastating impact of threats to share intimate images and we welcome the law finally catching up to protect victims of this abuse. Too often we have seen clients paralysed by the potential harm of having their images shared. While we don’t as yet have a date for the implementation of the new law, we hope that this move is part of a wider conversation on online behaviour and on the damaging harms of domestic abuse.”
The Revenge Porn Helpline is a key tool to help victims of this type of behaviour, and there are a range of places you can go for help, support or advice. If you are concerned about images being shared on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, you can find out more about the pilot project Not without my consent. You can also learn more about what the Revenge Porn Helpline team can do to help, when the police need to get involved and other places you can go to for support.