People who threaten to share somebody’s intimate photos or videos face two years in jail under a major law change being considered in the UK.
Sharing intimate images without consent – often called revenge porn – has been illegal since 2015, and 900 people have been convicted under the law since then.
The government has now committed to amending a piece of legislation passing through parliament, the Domestic Abuse Bill, to criminalise threatening to share “intimate” images of someone, after a campaign from domestic abuse charity Refuge.
The commitment comes after an ongoing “Naked Threat” campaign from Refuge which saw 45,000 supporters write to the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to ask for the change. The campaign was supported by Baroness Nicky Morgan, former Secretary of State for Education, and former Love Island contestant, Zara McDermott.
The proposed amendments to the bill, which will be heard in parliament this week, are part of a larger raft of changes to strengthen the law around domestic violence. Other amendments include making non-fatal strangulation a specific criminal offence and ensuring laws against coercive behaviour do not only apply to those living in the same household.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC said: “This Bill provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen our response to domestic abuse and its many forms. From outlawing non-fatal strangulation to giving better protections in court – we are delivering the support victims need to feel safer while ensuring perpetrators face justice for the torment they have inflicted”
Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, chair of Refuge said, “This is a significant moment for women experiencing domestic abuse who have been threatened with the sharing of their private intimate images and we are thrilled that the government has recognised the need for urgent change. Our research found that 1 in 7 young women have experienced these threats to share, with the overwhelming majority experiencing them from a current or former partner, alongside other forms of abuse.”
“The Domestic Abuse Bill provides the perfect legislative vehicle for this change, and the government has acted quickly and decisively,” she continued. “This is a victory for women and girls and testimony to the power of working together for change.”
The bill is expected to become law in the coming months.