Victim speaks out as revenge porn cases double in the last two years

The PSNI has revealed that the number of revenge porn offences reported to them has doubled in the last two years.

Revenge porn is the sharing of private or sexual images or videos of a person without their consent.

Chloe McIlwaine was a victim of revenge porn by her ex-boyfriend Stephen Brunty.

Brunty is now in prison after losing an appeal for disclosing private photographs of his ex-girlfriend.

Stephen Brunty

The 24 year old hacked into one of Chloe's social media accounts and posted intimate pictures of her from his phone for everyone to see.

"I was engaged. I was set to be married. This fella I trusted with my whole entire life, every single secret," Chloe told UTV.

"I didn't go out through the door for weeks. I felt suicidal. There's not even words to describe how I felt.

"Everybody saw parts of me that no one should see. Still to this day, I still get flashbacks of pictures.

"There's still days I walk down the street and people look at me in way, I think they've seen those pictures.

"There's a big part of my confidence ripped away from me," Chloe added.

The police say they have seen a huge increase in the number of revenge porn cases being reported to them.

"Once these images are published on social media, even if it's deleted a short time later, they're out there," said Detective Chief Inspector Jill Duffie from the PSNI.

Detective Chief Inspector Jill Duffie

"They can be screenshot by anybody and what we would find is they're often shared on WhatsApp groups so it can so out of control.

"Chloe herself would say she was convinced everybody knew about this and she didn't want to leave her home - that's terrible.

"I hope the conviction that Chloe got in her case will give other victims the confidence to come forward and report this because we do believe it's underreported.

Northern Irelands currently lags behind the rest of the UK in terms of legislation on revenge porn.

However, it is hoped that a new Sexual Offences Bill currently going through the Assembly will help to strengthen legislation.

Chloe has told her story in the hope that others will not become victims like she did.

"As Chloe has stated within her story, she's encouraging people to come forward. Have your voice reported," Sonia McMullan from Women's Aid said.

Sonia McMullan Credit: UTV

"The police have the powers to take these images down and then go for a prosecution of that perpetrator.

"I have done nothing wrong and that's why I'll stand and tell my story because I am the victim," Chloe said.

"If it stops one more girl then he hasn't had his revenge at all."


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