Revenge Porn: The Consequences

October 15, 2020, By

What is it?

‘Revenge porn’ is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the UK at the moment. It is a problem facing teenagers and young adults due to the significant rise in social media usage and accessibility.

Once an image is shared online, the poster loses control of where it ends up and the image could be reposted and shared reaching a massive number of viewers. Sharing a person’s image online can cause devastating effects on people’s lives and jobs, causing problems instantly and also for months and years to come.

You may remember back in April we shared some insight on the Coronation Street storyline, where an indecent video of an underage girl was circulated on a group chat of ‘friends’. Regular viewers will have seen how it affected her school and family life.

The recent Covid-19 lockdown has resulted in a surge of cases where relationships have broken down and images originally intended to be private have been shared. People are spending more time on their phones so the temptation to send a photo to perhaps ‘get your own back’ on an ex has never been higher. What might feel like a short-term win when you share a person’s image could actually cause serious complications and result in a prison sentence.

The Offence

Given the damage that it can cause, ‘revenge porn’ has now become a criminal offence. The Government wanted to make sure that people cannot get away with sharing these images online. As a result, the consequences of doing so are serious.

Under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, it is an offence to:

‘Disclose private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress’

  1. Without the consent of the person who is in the photograph or film.
  2. With the intention of causing the person appearing in the photograph or film distress.

‘Disclosure’ is a term used to describe the wide sharing of the photograph or film. It can include posting the image on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but also includes sending the images privately to friends on a text or WhatsApp message.

Once the image is shared in any way, this person loses control over who can see it. Even if it is shared to a close friend, there is no guarantee that they will not share it with others and the situation can easily spiral out of control.

The Consequences

Someone found guilty of distributing ‘revenge porn’ could face a maximum of two years imprisonment. They may also be liable to pay a fine. This criminal conviction would remain on their record and could affect future employment prospects.

Revenge Porn in the Press

You can read more about the recent rise in revenge porn in this BBC article. It provides some startling figures from a number of charities.

See also an article from Sky News that details the surge in calls to the revenge porn helpline during lockdown.

Speak with a Solicitor

If you have been accused of disclosing revenge porn, you will need to speak with a solicitor. Allegations of this nature can have a devastating impact on career prospects and put strain on relationships. Only senior solicitors at Slater Heelis will deal with cases relating to sexual offences, because you will need a solicitor who is highly experienced to prepare your defence.

Our Crime team is here to support those with allegations made against them. Victims can reach out to the Revenge Porn Helpline for guidance and support.