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Monday, 03 July 2017

New 'revenge porn' law could see offenders jailed for five years

Written by The Press Association

A new law tackling so-called revenge porn has come into effect across Scotland.

The offence will cover situations where someone shares filmed or still images of another person in an intimate situation.

This includes images taken in private where someone is nude or clothed only in underwear, or showing a person engaged in a sexual act.

The law, passed unanimously by MSPs in March last year, is aimed at addressing a growing problem, as easy access to devices like smartphones means pictures and videos taken with the expectation of privacy can now far more easily be shared publicly online through outlets such as social media.

A Scottish Government public awareness campaign (pictured) reinforcing the criminal consequences of sharing intimate images or films of a current or former partner without their permission accompanies the new Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Modern technology gives us the potential to link up or keep in touch with friends and loved ones around the world and opens up incredible opportunities, but the scale of its reach means that when it is abused to intimidate, harass or expose someone in this way, the impact can be hugely damaging.

"There is no place for this abusive and manipulative behaviour in Scotland, and the threat of sharing images without consent will be viewed just as seriously as the act of sharing. The maximum penalty of up to five years reflects the serious nature of this crime and anyone who shares or threatens to share an intimate image without consent will feel the full force of the law."

Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women's Aid, said: "So called 'revenge porn' is not about revenge and it's not about porn. It's about power, control and humiliation.

"Sharing or threatening to share intimate pictures or videos of someone without their consent causes devastating harm to victims and it is absolutely right that the law should reflect this."

She said victims have considered self-harm and suicide after intimate images were shared without their consent.

Research carried out for the charity surveying 1,137 adults in Scotland found more than three-quarters ( 78%) of Scottish adults believe it should be illegal for someone to share an intimate image they have been sent.

A total of 82% said it should be illegal for someone to share an intimate image they have taken of their partner without their consent.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture - A poster used in a campaign highlighting tough jail terms for sharing intimate images without consent (Scottish Government/PA Wire).