Threatening to share ‘revenge porn’ could land you in prison for up to 2 years after law change

Threatening to share ‘revenge porn’ could land you in prison for up to 2 years after law change  (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Threatening to share ‘revenge porn’ could land you in prison for up to 2 years after law change (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It will soon be illegal to threaten to share sexual images and videos of a person without their consent, as the UK looks to toughen up so-called ‘revenge porn’ laws.

The law change will mean that anyone who threatens to share revenge porn will be subject to up to two years in prison.

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Revenge porn is defined as revealing or sexually explicit images or videos posted online without the consent of the person who appears in them, usually shared by a former sexual partner, in order to cause the subject distress or embarrassment.

While it is already illegal to actually distribute revenge porn, the change in law will mean that threats to release such images - which can often be a way of controlling or coercing someone - will also be illegal.

The bill will reach the report stage next week, with royal ascent (the confirmation of the bill into law) expected next spring.

‘Listening to survivors’

Speaking to the Metro, Natasha Saunders, who has been the victim of revenge porn threats, said: “I was terrified of the consequences and it had a huge impact on me. I am now free from my abuser but every day I know that there are millions of women experiencing the things I was forced to endure for so long.

“I am so pleased that the Government has not only listened to survivors of domestic abuse, but also acted on what they heard.”

The law change comes alongside a raft of other measures intended to offer further protection to victims of domestic abuse by amending the Domestic Abuse Act to include more specific forms of abuse and harm.

Non-fatal strangulation will also become a specific crime, punishable by up to five years in prison.

‘A once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen our response to domestic abuse’

Speaking to the Metro, director of communications at the charity Refuge, Lisa King, said: “Up until now, women haven’t had a recourse to go to the police to have anything done about [revenge porn threats] - it’s just something perpetrators can get away with. That’s really frightening.

“We’re delighted that the Government has listened to a very pressing issue that impacts so many lives. We’re going to need to keep the pressure on so that police are trained as quickly as possible, so they know these new changes are in place and that women have the right to press charges if they are experiencing such threats.”

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP said: “This Bill provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen our response to domestic abuse and its many forms.”