November 6, 2020

HJ Talks About Abuse: The Naked Threat Campaign and Revenge Porn

Zara McDermott star of Love Island and Made in Chelsea has recently confirmed that she is working closely with Refuge Charity  to raise awareness of the Naked Threat Campaign which is calling for the Government to make threatening to share intimate images a crime. https://www.refuge.org.uk/refuge-launches-the-naked-threat-campaign/

Zara herself experienced image based abuse during her time filming Love Island when intimate images of her were shared online without her permission. She has since used her social media platform to disclose the devastating impact this act of revenge porn had on her and to voice the need for change. Zara will also feature in an upcoming BBC documentary to discuss her experience of revenge porn.

The Naked Threat Campaign is backed by the Victims Commissioner and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner to urge the Government to use the Domestic Abuse Bill to make a simple legal change that would make a huge difference to the everyday lives.

With ever changing technology, images can be uploaded and shared within seconds. Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp are most popular in such quests with the ability to share images with millions of users in seconds. Disturbingly, these images are sometimes sent to the victim’s children, parents or employer and frequently also posted on pornographic sites which are then difficult to remove. We have seen many instances over the years in the media where celebrities’ phones have been hacked and storylines of such revenge porn have played out in British soap Coronation Street, dramas and films.

At this time, only the physical sharing of such images or films without consent in order to cause distress is a crime.  This is described as “the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress”.  The offence covers images or videos showing people engaged in sexual activity which would not usually be done in public or with their genitals, buttocks or breasts exposed or covered only with underwear.  It is an offence to share the material as well as posting it online.  In England and Wales, the maximum punishment is two years in prison, but in Scotland, it is five years

 

 

The Naked Threat Campaign seeks to change the law so that threatening to share intimate images is made a crime by extending Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 to criminalise threats to share sexual images or films in England and Wales without consent with the intent to cause distress.

The hope is by explicitly outlawing threats to share sexual images or films, this  will send the clear message to the abusers.

A survey commissioned by Refuge found that 1 in 14 adults in England and Wales have experienced threats to share intimate images or videos, this is equivalent to 4.4 million.

Those impacted by threats to share images, include controlling partners and ex-partners, leaving some victims afraid to leave abusive relationships. 72% of women who have received threats to share were threatened by a current or ex-partner and 83% of women who experienced the threat from a current or former partner also experienced other forms of abuse. This confirms Refuge’s assertion that threatening to share intimate images must be treated as a domestic abuse issue. 

Threats to share intimate images are most prevalent amongst young people (aged 18-34), with 1 in 7 young women experiencing such threats.

Such threats have significant impact on mental health and social wellbeing and will act as a way of control. Of those impacted, 1 in 7 confirmed they felt risk of physical abuse and 1 in 10 felt suicidal.https://www.refuge.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/The-Naked-Threat-Report.pdf

If you would like further information you can go to:

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins at Alan.collins@hughjames.com or Danielle Vincent at Danielle.vincent@hughjames.com

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