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Non-consensual image-sharing criminalised

Rape Crisis Scotland welcomes new legislation coming into effect today which makes the non-consensual sharing of intimate images and videos (or threatening to share these) a criminal offence.

Finding that someone has publicly shared images they believed were private within the context of a trusting relationship can be devastating and can leave people struggling with feelings of shame, embarrassment, fearing a variety of consequences and not knowing where to turn for support and justice.

Abusive partners or ex-partners can use this behaviour as a lever to manipulate those they seek to control or to hurt and degrade them. This legislation now sets out clearly that a gross violation of this nature is a criminal act for which perpetrators can and will be held accountable.

Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland said: “Sharing or threatening to share intimate images is a serious violation and can be devastating to individuals targeted. This behaviour has emerged increasingly in recent years as a factor in sexually abusive behaviour. Highlighting it as a serious criminal offence with a substantial penalty is an important and necessary development.”

The new law, part of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act, makes the sharing or threat of sharing private, intimate images and videos an offence punishable with up to 5 years imprisonment. The Scottish Government has also launched a new campaign to highlight the new legislation. You can read more here https://news.gov.scot/news/penalties-for-sharing-intimate-images as well as on the Rape Crisis Scotland blog. Full details of the legislation are at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2016/22/enacted