Revenge porn: One in three allegations dropped

Charities supporting victims believe cases are dropped because complainants are not given anonymity.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Revenge porn victim: 'I felt like I had been raped'

One in three allegations of so-called revenge porn are withdrawn by the complainant, new figures show.

Since it was made a criminal offence in 2015 victims have chosen not to support charges in 2,813 of 7,806 incidents.

Some alleged victims say it is because they are not granted anonymity, while others cite a lack of police support.

The Ministry of Justice said it was committed to supporting victims but had no current plan to change the law around identification.

The North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, has launched a petition to change the law to grant victims anonymity, as is the case for complainants in sexual offence cases.

To date it has received more than 15,000 signatures.

She said: "We think the law is fundamentally flawed. At the moment [revenge porn] is a communications offence not a sexual offence and that means victims face the likelihood of being publically named and we think that puts people off."

The BBC obtained figures relating to revenge porn complaints from 34 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

Revenge porn is described as "the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress".

The offence covers photos or videos showing people engaged in sexual activity which would not usually take place in public.

It includes sharing the material as well as posting it online.

In England and Wales, the maximum punishment is two years in prison - in Scotland, it is five years.

'I thought it was just us having fun'

Lydia (whose name has been changed), from West Yorkshire, was with her partner for a year before they split up and he took it badly.

"I didn't know he was taking pictures. I was blindfolded and I didn't know he was taking videos of me. I thought it was just us having fun.

"After I split up with him I got this email from a woman I didn't know saying there were explicit photos of me on a website.

"I looked on the site and typed in my name and saw my pictures - I couldn't believe it - I freaked out, had a complete meltdown.

"I'm a really private person - it was so upsetting. I called the police and I tried to contact different websites to get them to remove my pictures and video.

"He got sentenced to six months in prison. It didn't feel long enough for what he put me through.

"I feel like I was molested - like I was raped."

Lauren Evans, from Hertfordshire, contacted Thames Valley Police in 2015 after she discovered sexual images of her were being shared via social media by a man she had met online.

She said, however, she was made to feel that she was responsible for what had happened.

"I felt like it was all my fault," she said.

"Even the police officer I told my story to said 'I guess you've learnt your lesson now then', and that shook me to my core.

"I thought if the police think it's my fault then what is the point in going on."

'Victim blaming'

She also said the term "revenge porn" should be changed as it "makes it sound like the victim is deserving of this".

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said it could not comment on individual cases but that takes allegations of revenge porn "extremely seriously".

Catherine Knibbs is a cyber trauma researcher and psychotherapist and said some people will never get over the trauma of being a victim of revenge porn.

"Prosecutions are long, lengthy distressing process for most victims of any kind of crimes," she said.

"In terms of sexual crimes - you're looking at the proposition you might be told it's your fault, you asked for it - lot of victim blaming, very difficult for victims to come to terms with."

Data collated by the BBC shows there has been an increase in the number of revenge porn cases reported to police since records began, from 1,861 offences in 2015-16 to 3,307 in 2017-18.

The proportion of cases resulting in charges, however, has fallen. In 2015-16 it stood at 14% and in 2017-18 was just 7%.

Vanessa Smith, Det Ch Insp of the West Yorkshire Cyber Crime Unit, said: "Revenge porn itself is extortion, blackmail, it can be sexual harassment or stalking. I would urge people to be trustful of the police - we will treat your call with sensitivity.

"We need to know basics - how it's been posted, to which sites - and then we can work with those sites and organisations. I know Facebook and Twitter have provided more guidance to their customers and have been quite robust monitoring it."

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "Revenge porn is an awful abuse of trust which leaves victims feeling humiliated and degraded.

"By making it a specific offence we sent a clear message that it will not be tolerated, and there have now been almost 300 convictions.

"We are committed to supporting and protecting victims. We have no current plans to extend automatic anonymity to victims of the offence, but we keep the law under constant review."

Date: 13 June 2018 | Source: BBC

More UK News

Stephen King horror adaptation to be filmed in Tredegar

A werewolf movie, a thriller and an adaptation of a Stephen King story will be made in Tredegar

Royal tour: Meghan takes morning off as Harry goes solo in Sydney

The royal couple decide to cut back pregnant Meghan's schedule "slightly" during their overseas tour..

Brexit: Extend transition only to scrap backstop, says Dominic Raab

Brexit Secretary says more time before EU divorce could avoid "unacceptable" plan for Northern Irela..

Harrow fire: Person missing in suspected gas blast

A man, woman and baby are rescued after an explosion in London, but one person is unaccounted for

Peterloo: The man who ordered a massacre

Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes condemns his "evil" ancestor who ordered the Peterloo Massacre

Breadboards and dog collars: England's unusual museums

As a sci-fi museum opens in a man's cellar, the BBC takes a tour of some of England's most unusual a..
View More

More Telford News

 Let's back Zac: Broseley youngster is special guest at Wolves - with pictures

Zac Oliver, the poorly Broseley youngster who has captured the hearts of t..

 'Living wall' gift at roundabout for Telford's 50th birthday

The wraps has finally been taken off a giant birthday present to reveal th..

 Dark Lane: John puts vanished Telford village back in the frame

Soon after the creation of Telford 50 years ago, a tight-knit community wa..

 20 offers of help for Telford's DIY SOS-style hospital plan

A DIY SOS-style appeal to attract doctors to Telford’s Princess Royal Hosp..

 Telford Community Pride Awards shortlists announced

A shortlist of individuals, groups and businesses from across the borough f..

 New Telford supported housing scheme set to open its doors

A new multi-million pound supported housing scheme will open its doors in T..
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

[[countdown here]]
[[countdown here]]

Upcoming Events in Telford

24 Oct 2018

Wed 24 Oct - 7:30pm
Thu 25 Oct - 7:30pm
Fri 26 Oct - 7:30pm
Sat 27 Oct - 2:30pm
Sat 27 Oct - 7:30pm

Tickets £15

Group offer: £12 tickets for groups of 20+ per performance

View Details

27 Oct 2018

6- 9pm

Adult & 60+ - £13

Child (aged 3-15) - £9.50
Child (aged 0-2) - FREE
Family (2+2) - £40

Please note Passport tickets are not valid for this event and dogs will not be allowed.

Tickets must be purchased in advance either online

Dogs will not be allowed and remember to bring a torch.

View Details

30 Oct 2018


Tickets £11

Suitable for 5+

Show running time (approx) : 40 minutes - 15 minute interval - 30 minutes

View Details

31 Oct 2018


Tickets £24

Concession £22

View Details

31 Oct 2018

6:30 - 8:30pm

Children: £5.99

Adults: £1.99

Under 2's: £2.25

Under 1's: Free

View Details
View More