United Kingdom Moves to Crack Down on ‘Revenge Porn’

https://www.theblot.com/united-kingdom-moves-to-crack-down-on-revenge-porn-7726915

Revenge porn is hot in the UK. Those who publish nude photographs of others with the intent to defame or harass a person could wind up with a two-year jail sentence under new legislation proposed in the United Kingdom.

The proposed legislation will be inserted into a bill currently making its way through parliament, Britain’s Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling announced last weekend.

“The fact that there are individuals who are cruelly distributing intimate pictures of their former partners without their consent is almost beyond belief,” Grayling said. “We want those who fall victim to this type of disgusting behavior to know that we are on their side and will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice. That is why we will change the law and make it absolutely clear to those who act in this way that they could face prison.”

Just days before the announcement, the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) suggested that so-called “revenge porn” cases could carry an even longer sentence if those cases were prosecuted under certain laws already on the books.

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Those guidelines suggested that those who post sexually-suggestive or nude photographs of others online with the intent to defame and harass their victims should be prosecuted based on the level of humiliation a subject intended to inflict, the CPS says.

“No one should have to suffer the hurt and humiliation of revenge pornography, a nasty and invasive crime that appears, anecdotally at least, to have increased as social media use has gone up,” a CPS spokesperson said in a statement.

The CPS proposed that the most-severe cases — in which a subject coerces a victim into sexual situations by threatening to post, or actually posting, nude images online — could net up to a 14-year prison sentence if the case was tried under Britain’s Sexual Offenses Act of 2003.

“The CPS prosecutes these cases using a range of current laws, and we have now clarified our legal guidance to set out clearly how these cases should be brought to court,” the spokesperson said. “The new guidance also makes clear that the context of each case needs to be considered alongside current guidelines to ensure that the most appropriate legislation is used when prosecuting.”

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The guidelines issued last week were intended to send a clear message to potential suspects that revenge porn crimes “can and will be prosecuted,” the spokesperson said.

Currently, revenge porn cases are prosecuted under public obscenity laws for which there is a higher burden of proof placed on the prosecutor. The legislation proposed over the weekend appears to correct this by applying the law to any and all cases in which a nude or sexually explicit photograph is published online or distributed in print without the consent of the parties depicted.

There have been more than 140 revenge porn cases reported to police since 2012, according to eight law enforcement agencies in Britain that track such crimes. The vast majority of those cases involve victims who are women — and an overwhelming majority of the suspects in the cases go uncharged, according to The Guardian.

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Separate data reviewed by the Press Association found several cases in which women — including those as young as 11 — were threatened into having sex with men after being told their nude photographs would be distributed online. In some cases, personal identifying information accompanied the photos online, including social security numbers, phone numbers and home addresses.

“There is an urgent need for prevention as well as better enforcement,” Polly Neate, an executive with a women’s advocacy group in Britain, told the International Business Times. “Online harassment and abuse must be seen as a manifestation of the widespread violence against women which is caused, tolerated and exacerbated by our culture of misogyny.”

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