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So, what’s ‘consent’? is it just ‘Yes’?

The law making the sharing of intimate images without consent came into effect in April 2015. While it was one of the first legislative moves in the world to tackle the issue, it soon became apparent that the law as it stood did not meet the needs of people affected by this abhorrent crime. In 2019 the government asked the Law Commission (LC) to review the law as it stood and make recommendations for change. This process has now reached the public consultation phase: it’s your chance to have your say.

The Law Commission have produced an accessible summary document as well as a full proposal document. And we’re going to run a series of short articles about the key proposals to give an idea of what is being suggested.

Consent: we think we know what the word means, but sometimes it’s not as straightforward as we first think. Does it just mean saying ‘Yes’? Is it still consent if our ‘Yes’ was persuaded? Or coerced? Threatened? Is that still consent? And if we say ‘Yes’ to sex, does that mean ‘Yes’ to photos? If I say ‘Yes’ to photos, does that mean ‘Yes’ to sharing them? And can I withdraw my ‘Yes’?

What do you think?

We would strongly encourage anyone affected by intimate image abuse, or with views on the proposals, to get in touch and respond to their consultation. They said:

“The Law Commission want to hear about your experiences of intimate image abuse, your views on their proposals in light of your experiences, and whether you think you think the proposals have missed any abusive behaviours which should be criminalised by changes to the law.”

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