Revenge Porn: What Effect Has Covid-19 Had?

Author:
Liam Goggin
Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse Claims
Date:
24/03/2021

Reports of domestic abuse and revenge porn cases have been on the rise during the Coronavirus pandemic, with research by Women’s Aid reporting that over 60% of victims living with an abuser said that their abuse got worse during the pandemic.

A further report by The Independent found that the number of calls to a national revenge porn helpline tripled between 2017 and 2020.

While it’s clear that revenge porn has been increasing over the last few years, it’s likely that there’s been an even bigger spike during Covid-19 as the population has spent more time than ever online.

If you’ve been affected by domestic abuse or revenge porn, get in touch for confidential legal advice and support.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is when someone shares private, sexual photos or videos of another person without their consent in a malicious attempt to cause them embarrassment or distress. It can happen both online and offline, and is usually shared in one of 3 ways:

  • Uploading images or videos onto the internet
  • Sharing the materials by text or email
  • Showing others the materials in person

Many victims’ lives have been affected by revenge porn, and until recently, it’s been challenging to charge the abusers. It can leave victims with mental health problems as well as causing damage to their relationships with partners, family members and colleagues.

Celebrities such as Zara McDermott have recently spoken out about the devastating effects of revenge porn and the worrying lack of support she got as a victim.

Victims can find it particularly challenging to come forward about online abuse for fear of it not being taken as seriously as physical abuse. We hope the recent changes to the Domestic Abuse Bill will give victims the confidence to speak out about their abuse and get the support they need.

What are the Changes to the Domestic Abuse Bill?

The Domestic Abuse Bill has been altered to include new offences in a big step towards protecting victims of online and domestic abuse.

Over 900 abusers have been convicted since the first revenge porn legislation was introduced in 2015, but these new changes enforce stricter sentences for abusers.

This includes:

  • Revenge porn – Abusers who are threatening to share private images can now be prosecuted and jailed for up to 2 years. Before now, only abusers who had already shared images could be charged
  • Non-fatal strangulation – Under the new amendment, it will now be an offence to intentionally strangle another person. Convicted abusers can face up to 5 years in prison
  • Controlling and coercive behaviour – Abusers can now be charged for controlling or coercive behaviour against victims who they don’t live with. Previously, the law didn’t protect victims who had escaped abusive partners and still faced psychological abuse from them
  • New statutory definition of domestic abuse – The definition has been extended to include non-physical abuse such as manipulation, economic abuse, and controlling and coercive behaviour
  • Perpetrators can no longer cross-examine victims in Court, giving victims more protection

Talking about the changes in the legislation, Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins says, “The Domestic Abuse Bill is a game-changing piece of legislation that will help millions of people who are subjected to many different forms of abuse.”

“I am pleased that the offence is being extended so we can protect more victims and send a clear message to perpetrators.”

Support from an Abuse Solicitor

If you’ve been affected by revenge porn, or any other type of abuse, just know that you’re not alone and there is support out there. Our Abuse Solicitors can put you in touch with specialist support networks and help you report your abuse to the police if you’ve not already done so.

Anything you tell us will be kept completely confidential. Speak to one of our experienced Abuse Solicitors today for free initial legal advice.

For free legal advice call our Abuse Claims Solicitors

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