Government urged to grant anonymity to revenge porn victims

Sep 6, 2015
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People who are the subject of revenge porn attacks should be granted anonymity in line with the victims of other sex offences, campaigners have suggested.

MPs are being urged to close a legal loophole amid concern that publicity around convictions is causing more people to search for explicit images, creating even more distress for the victims.

A new law was introduced in April after a spate of cases where vengeful ex-lovers shared intimate and explicit images of their former partners on the Internet.

Dubbed ‘revenge porn’, the government moved to introduce a specific offence aimed at protecting potential victims.

But some campaigners have claimed the law was “rushed through” and have warned that publicity around successful prosecutions is simply exacerbating the problem which result in fewer victims being willing to come forward and report incidents.

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Lucy Hastings, director of independent charity Victim Support, said those subjected to revenge porn attacks should be afforded the same anonymity as those who suffer other forms of sexual abuse.

She said: “Without anonymity a victim testifying in court faces the very real risk of their name and details being reported in the press, which could also lead to the offending images or videos being shared more widely.

“(Victims) need to have confidence that they will be treated sensitively and respectfully, and a guarantee of anonymity would surely encourage more victims to report these serious offences.”

Jill Saward, who has spent nearly 30 years campaigning for sex abuse victims since she was raped in 1986, said anonymity for revenge porn victims was overlooked when the law was “rushed through” earlier this year.

She said: “Naming victims could present all sorts of problems. Once things are out there, and there’s a name attached, anybody can do anything with it. This needs to be listed as a sexual offence and the victims deserve protection.”

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