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What to do if you have had intimate images shared online without your consent

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  3. Intimate images shared without consent

Intimate image abuse refers to the non-consensual sharing of intimate images and videos with the intent to cause distress. This is sometimes referred to as 'revenge porn' or 'image-based abuse'. This content can be shared in a multitude of ways including, in-person, through texts, emails and messages, on social media platforms, porn sites and in group chats. This crime can be committed by anyone and anyone can be a victim. If you have been a victim, please remember this isn’t your fault and you haven’t done anything wrong. 

Is it against the law? 

In April 2015, the Criminal Justice and Courts Act made it, 'an offence for a person to disclose a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made without the consent of an individual who appears in the photograph or film, and with the intention of causing that individual distress'. Find out more about intimate image abuse laws in the UK here.

What if I'm under 18 in the content?

The Helpline can only support adult victims of intimate image abuse. If you are under the age of 18, or if you are under 18 in the content which has been shared, this is a very different crime and would need to be reported to another service. Please find advice for under 18s content here. 

What should I do if my intimate images have been shared without consent?

Keep calm and don't panic

You haven’t done anything wrong and what’s happened is not your fault. You are not alone and we are here to help you. We know it’s easier said than done but try to keep calm and follow this advice.

If you find your intimate images or videos have been shared somewhere online without your consent and you are over 18 and live in the UK, please get in touch. In order for us to help with removing content, we will need one or two direct links to where the content has been shared and we can go from there.

Collect evidence

Take screenshots of the intimate content that has been shared online. Try and include the URL (website address), times and dates of when it was posted and any details of who it was posted by. Keep copies of any public or private messages (texts, emails, call logs), especially those of a threatening nature, together with the dates and times they were sent.

Sometimes if this has been going on for an extended period of time or if there are other concerning behaviours like harassment or abuse, it may be a good idea to create a timeline of events in as much detail as possible.

We understand that the first reaction you may have is to want to delete all the content immediately. This is your choice, but we do advise that if you want to seek legal action it may be best to contact the police first before reporting the content and risk having evidence removed prematurely.

Stop, block and report

We advise blocking all communication with the perpetrator, reporting any accounts they may have used to contact you or share the content on. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, we can do this for you. If they have asked for money, goods, more intimate content, etc in return for deleting content, we advise you don’t send them anything. Often they will ask for more and may escalate their demands.

Report to the Police.

It’s against the law in the UK to share someone’s intimate content without their consent with the intent to cause distress. You can get in touch with the police using their non-emergency 101 number or you can find info about reporting to the police online here.

Remember, you are a victim of crime. Be prepared that they may not know the best way to deal with your problem, but you should always expect a non-biased, non-judgemental response.

Make sure you keep a record of your log/case number so the police can quickly access your details if you want to add additional information or get an update on the investigation. It will also save you having to repeat what has happened over and over which may be distressing for you.

If you are in any immediate threat of physical danger or risk, call 999.

Accessing free legal advice

We work alongside the SPITE project at Queen Mary University London who provide free legal advice for victims of Intimate Image Abuse.

Find more information about SPITE here.

Reporting the content - don't worry, we can help.

On most social media platforms and reputable adult sites, non-consensual sharing of intimate images and videos will be a breach of their community standards

The Helpline can help with the reporting of intimate content shared without consent. Please provide a direct URL to where this has been shared and we can help to report this on your behalf. We can never guarantee any removals but we hold a very high takedown rate.

To find content, you can use reverse image searching tools to locate where an image has been shared or where it is located online. Most search engines will have an image searching function.

Find advice on reporting to social media platforms here.

Find advice on reporting to adult sites here.

Contact the Helpline for support with reporting content

Reach out for more support

We know how distressing and traumatic it can be to have your intimate content shared without your consent. We will always encourage those who get in touch to reach out and get extra support if you need it.

You can find more information about external support services and organisations that can offer more support here.

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