What is it?
Intimate image abuse, also referred to as ‘revenge porn’, is 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. ‘Sexual materials’ covers the genitals but also any sexual behaviour or posing in a sexually provocative way. These images may be accompanied by personal information about the victim, bringing extra harm and distress.
The offence is both online and offline, and includes electronic sharing of images (e.g. uploading to a website, sharing by text or email) or showing someone a physical or electronic image.
Although the non-consensual sharing of sexual images is often called ‘revenge porn’, ‘revenge’ does not have to be, and often isn’t, the motivation for sharing the image. Even where ‘revenge’ is perceived as a motivation, it is important to be clear that victims are never to blame for someone non-consensually distributing their private sexual images- it is solely the perpetrator to blame for this.
Sharing explicit images of someone without their consent is never a ‘bit of fun’- it is a crime, and those found guilty of the offence could face a sentence of up to two years in prison.
How to report?
If you have been a victim of intimate image abuse you can report the offence to the police on the non-urgent 101 number, or you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Importantly, if there is an immediate threat to safety, always dial 999.
If someone has posted explicit images of you online, you should report this to the website that the images were posted on and ask for them to be removed. Try to keep evidence of the images being posted by taking screenshots of any posts or messages before they are removed, in case you want to report the crime to the police. If you are over 18, you can contact the revenge porn helpline for support and assistance in trying to remove content that has been shared online.
If you are under 18, it is against the law to take a naked or semi-naked photo of yourself. If the police become involved, this will be recorded as a crime, but this does not mean you will have a criminal record. The police will treat this as a safeguarding issue, and will provide support and education. It is important to know this, so that young victims of intimate image abuse can report to the police in the confidence that they will be supported, not penalised.
It is also illegal for anyone of any age to take, possess or distribute a naked or semi-naked image of someone under 18. If you are asking someone who is under 18 to send an explicit photo, what you are asking them to do is illegal for both parties. For young people this may be perceived as ‘nudes’ or ‘flirting’ but if the individual is under 18, these are child abuse images under the law.
Where to get help?
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 provides powers for the Police and Crime Commissioner to award grants to any organisation or body he considers will support the community safety priorities within his police and crime plan, such as tackling drugs and crime, reducing re-offending and providing support for victims and witnesses.
Derbyshire Victim Services
From April 2016 Derbyshire Victim Services will be a commissioned provider of general victim services to those affected by crime in the Derbyshire area. If you have ever been the victim of crime, or have been affected by a crime committed against someone close to you, Derbyshire Victim Services can provide all the help and support you need. Their local team offers a friendly, free and confidential service to anyone living in Derbyshire. It doesn’t matter if you reported the crime to the Police or not they are here to help you with any practical advice and emotional support.
Text CORE to 82055
Below are details of other organisations which will be able to offer help and support for victims of intimate image abuse.
Revenge Porn Helpline
The revenge porn helpline support anyone over the age of 18 by giving 1-1 support, helping with reporting and removing content, and advising on how to report to the police.
0345 6000 459
CrimeStoppers is an independent charity helping law enforcement to locate criminals and help solve crimes, through anonymous reporting. The site also provides crime prevention advice for a number of crimes.