Revenge Porn is now a criminal offence.

Revenge porn became a criminal offence in England and Wales on Thursday 12th February 2015 as the government cracks down on social media users posting intimate photos of former partners without consent.

Those caught sharing explicit pictures and videos on such sites as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or those distributing hardcopy versions, could face up to two years in prison under a new law that came into effect on the 12th February 2015 in England and Wales. The change in the law is being made via an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill which has now received Royal Assent.

The offence will cover photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public. Victims and others will be able to report offences to the police to investigate. Officers will work with the Crown Prosecution Service to take forward cases for prosecution.

Those found to have committed a sexual offence can continue to be prosecuted under existing legislation, which can lead to sentences of up to 14 years in prison. The change in the law will be made via an amendment to the Criminal Justice & Courts Bill.

Justice Minister, Shailesh Vara, said: “Revenge porn is humiliating and distressing for the victim. We want to make it clear to victims that we take this issue very seriously and will not stand for this malicious betrayal of trust”.

Victims of revenge porn have often found it difficult to have pictures removed from the internet. Many sites where the images are hosted are based outside the UK, and requests to remove content are often ignored. In some cases, asking for removal results in more attention being brought to the images.

Previously, without specific legislation, some victims of revenge porn have sought legal workarounds to have images taken down – most commonly the use of copyright law.  If an intimate picture has been taken as a “selfie”, the image’s copyright belongs to the taker.

If you require legal advice in relation to a criminal matter then contact a member of our crime team who will be happy to assist you, on 0116 255 4855 (Leicester) or 01509 610 312 (Loughborough).