QotD: “Nearly 200 cases of revenge porn have been reported to police in the past six months by victims as young as 12, according to the largest collection of official figures to date”

Nearly 200 cases of revenge porn have been reported to police in the past six months by victims as young as 12, according to the largest collection of official figures to date.

The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, disclose for the first time the number of revenge porn cases being reported since a new law was passed following a spate of cases in which vengeful former lovers shared intimate images online.

Since April, 175 victims have told police that private photographs have been shared without their consent, crime statistics from 18 police forces in England and Wales show.

The reported incidents are likely to be only the tip of the iceberg. The figures are drawn from just over a third of police forces in England and Wales and do not include the two biggest forces, the Metropolitan police and West Midlands police, so the true number is likely to be far higher.

In July it emerged that 14 police forces had recorded 139 revenge porn allegations in the six months to April, after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) published guidance on prosecuting revenge porn cases before the new legislation came into force.

[…]

The latest figures reveal that revenge porn victims were aged between 12 and 58 and the vast majority of cases involved explicit pictures of women shared without permission by their male ex-partners.

In one ongoing investigation by Humberside police, a schoolboy is alleged to have shared on Snapchat and Facebook an explicit video of his ex-girlfriend, also of school age, showing them having sex.

Police notes record that the girl “had not given consent for it to be shared with other students. These friends have also passed the picture on to others. Both parents have been spoken to – suspect’s mum is very upset about it. When [victim] found out about it, she told her parents, and there is going to be a family talk about it tonight.”

According to figures released by five police forces, one in five cases are dropped because the victim does not support further police action – suggesting they may be too afraid to go to court. Out of 66 cases reported to police in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Surrey, Humberside and Lancashire, 14 were dropped because the victim was reluctant to press charges.

Twelve men and one woman have so far been convicted under the new legislation, and sentences have ranged from a 12-month community order to 12 weeks in jail. The crime is punishable by up to two years in prison plus a fine.

Last week a transgender man, Jesse Hawthorne, 23, from Caerphilly, was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, after posting a picture of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook after she made fun of his plans to have gender reassignment surgery.

[…]

Unlike victims of other sexual offences, people who are the subject of revenge porn attacks are not granted lifelong anonymity under the current law. MPs have been urged to close the legal loophole over concerns that the victims’ names may be disclosed publicly in court, potentially creating further embarrassment and deterring other victims from coming forward.

(source)

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