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Revenge porn laws come into force - sharing sexually explicit images without consent could mean two years in jail

Revenge porn laws come into force over sexual images. Photo: PA

New revenge porn laws come into force meaning people who share sexually explicit images without consent could be jailed for up to two years.

Campaigners and victims have welcomed the move, which means those who post private, sexual images of someone without consent and with the intent to cause distress will now face prison.

Prosecutors previously had to find evidence of harassment or copyright infringement when seeking to take someone to court. However, the introduction of the revenge porn law has offered greater protection for victims.

The campaign to ban revenge porn gathered pace - and cross-party political support - following high-profile leaks of intimate celebrity images last year, making victims of pop stars Rihanna and Tulisa Contostavlos.

Campaigner Hannah Thompson, 22, said the move was "a huge step forward".

The revenge porn offence is introduced today as part of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act. Other new laws taking effect include:

  • Increasing the maximum penalty to two years in prison for online trolls who send abusive messages or material
  • New criminal offences of juror misconduct, including for those who research details of a case
  • Creating a new offence of causing serious injury by driving while disqualified, carrying a maximum penalty of four years in prison
  • Making possession of extreme pornography that shows images depicting rape illegal

She said: "I was a victim of revenge porn, and I spent months agonising over it and believing that it was my fault. This new law, along with the advice helpline, empowers victims and clearly displays that they are not at fault.

"I hope all these changes provide victims with a route to justice and aid them in getting their images taken down."

She said "a culture that people could post sexual images without consent, and just get away with it" is now beginning to change.

The first figures of their kind into the prevalence of revenge porn, obtained by the Press Association last year, showed children as young as 11 have been victims, with their perpetrators often evading justice.