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16 Days of Activism: Day 9 - Because the law is changing

In February 2018, the government asked the Law Commission to review the current law around abusive and offensive online communications and make recommendations on any gaps in the criminal law. They published the results of their work on 1st November, which included a wide-ranging discussion around issues including consent, threats to disclose images and the meaning of terms such as ‘private’ and ‘sexual’.  Importantly, they highlighted the fact that intimate image abuse is often part of a pattern of coercive control and/or domestic abuse in personal relationships and that women are therefore disproportionately affected. 

There was also comment on the development of what is known as ‘deepfake’ pornography which involves software that transposes someone’s face on to pornographic videos. Looking ahead, they observed that the future will only make this technology more life-like and more pervasive. 

The report highlighted BBC research that showed that one in three allegations were withdrawn by complainants, many citing the lack of anonymity because disclosing private images is not classed as a sexual offence. A victim was quoted, 
“this ordeal, they’re stressed, and now you’re just making it worse…once it goes to court and it’s in the public domain it’s a whole different ball game because then you have all the comments, and the people…they need to be allowed to have the choice, choice is really important”

The report gives a good overview and analysis of the law as it currently stands on the sharing of intimate images without consent and highlights areas that need review. And the Law Commission also confirm that in 2019 they will be conducting a review specifically to take forward a more detailed review of the law around the taking and sharing of non-consensual intimate images. Further details of this review are awaited but we look forward to sharing our experience with the Commission.

If you have had your intimate images shared, or threated to be shared, without your consent we can help. Get in touch today, you’re not alone with this.

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