New revenge porn laws could see offenders jailed for five years

A new law which will make it easier for people to be prosecuted for sharing intimate images without consent will came into force on Monday.
A new law which will make it easier for people to be prosecuted for sharing intimate images without consent will came into force on Monday.
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A new law tackling those who send intimate images or videos without a person’s consent has come into effect across Scotland.

Anyone convicted of disclosing or threatening to disclose so-called revenge porn will face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

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 such as 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 reinforcing the criminal consequences of sharing intimate images or films of a current or former partner without permission accompanies the new Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “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.”

Last week a stalker who posted indecent images of a woman on social media was given a community payback order after a sheriff said he would find prison “easier to deal with”.

Arran Adey, 30, of Lochgelly, Fife, was released from his latest prison stretch only days before appearing for sentence for a campaign of harassment which lasted two months.

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.”