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Tougher Sentences for So-Called ‘Revenge Porn’

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The devastating effects of sharing sexual images without consent can never be underestimated, so it is welcome news that the Sentencing Council have launched a consultation on proposed rules for judges and magistrates when punishing so-called ‘revenge porn’ perpetrators in England and Wales.

Revenge porn offenders who send explicit pictures to the families of their victims or who set up websites to magnify their targets’ humiliation will face the most severe penalties under new sentencing proposals.

Circulating revenge pornography carries a maximum jail term of two years, so those who send pictures to their victims’ families or set up websites could soon face prison terms at the upper end of this scale.

The guidelines are the first to give advice to courts under new laws covering the sharing of “private sexual images”, which has only been an offence since April 2015. More than 200 prosecutions have since been brought. Previously, offenders had to be prosecuted under copyright or harassment laws and victims often found it difficult to have images taken down.

Defendants who circulate pictures widely, or in large numbers, will also be placed in the most serious bracket.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Revenge porn is an awful abuse of trust which can leave victims feeling humiliated and degraded.┬áIt is right that our courts recognise the severity of this crime.”

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