‘Revenge porn’ offence legislation to be debated by MSPs

Revenge porn will be debated at Holyrood on Thursday. Picture: pixabay
Revenge porn will be debated at Holyrood on Thursday. Picture: pixabay
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LEGISLATION which will create a new offence for so-called revenge porn will be debated at Holyrood on Thursday.

The Scottish Government’s Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Bill is aimed at modernising criminal law and strengthening the powers of police, prosecutors and courts to take action against perpetrators of domestic abuse, harassment and sexual offences.

It will create an offence of sharing private intimate images without consent - often called revenge porn - with a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.

The Bill also includes a requirement for judges to give juries specific directions when dealing with sexual offence cases that are designed to improve juries’ understanding of sexual violence and domestic abuse, specifically why a victim might not report or resist an offence at the time it was committed.

A new statutory domestic abuse aggravator will also be introduced to ensure courts take domestic abuse into account when sentencing an offender.

READ MORE: New powers to tackle revenge porn in Scotland

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The bold proposals Parliament is debating today will improve the way the justice system responds to abusive behaviour, holding perpetrators to account for their actions and improving public safety.

“As well as sending a strong message that domestic abuse and harassment are appalling crimes which will not be tolerated, this Bill will also remove some of the current barriers to justice by improving understanding of domestic abuse and sexual harm, something we know is lacking in the current system.”

“We are also continuing to modernise law in Scotland and to make sure our legislation best fits the needs of a 21st-century Scotland which is why we are creating a new offence of sharing intimate images without consent, so-called revenge porn, reflecting changing technology.

“At a time when victims of sexual offences have increasing confidence in reporting historic incidents to the police knowing they will be effectively investigated, our proposals on new jury directions will also make a real difference in ensuring juries approach court evidence in an informed and balanced way.”

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