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Very few “revenge porn” cases are being prosecuted, new UK data shows

Revenge porn cases are on the rise, yet most are not prosecuted.
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An advocacy group urges the strict and proper implementation of the laws governing revenge porn in England and Wales. These laws are not fit for purpose and authorities still lack more training to implement them, says the Revenge Porn Helpline.

Revenge porn, the sharing of private and sexual images or videos of a person without consent was considered an offense in all of England and Wales since 2015.

Despite numerous complaints that were received by the police, it was revealed that most of these charges did not push through and offenders were not apprehended. The charges against revenge porn offenders have dropped significantly, according to data from 19 police stations in England and Wales – despite the claims of the National Police Chiefs Council that revenge crime porn has been dealt with and taken seriously by authorities.

The number of alleged cases being investigated by officers has more than doubled in the last four years – from 852 in 2015-16 to 1,853 in 2018-19.

Sophie Mortimer of the Revenge Porn helpline said that revenge porn victims should receive anonymity and laws should include threats to share images. “We’d like to see it made a sexual offense because that would guarantee anonymity for victims,” she said.

Currently, revenge porn is considered as “communications crime.” This means that victims of this crime do not get anonymity when they file complaints and become vulnerable to attacks from offenders who may retaliate against even before charges were made against them. This makes victims hesitant to file complaints while those who’ve mustered the courage decided to drop the case. Some of them also pointed out the lack of police support provided to them.

Some victims also pointed out the lack of police training and knowledge on implementing the revenge porn law. Research by the University of Suffolk found that 95% of police officers had not had any training on revenge porn law.

Despite the claim of the Revenge Porn group, police authorities said that they have been doing everything to implement the revenge porn law to the best of their ability.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey of the National Police Chiefs’ Council said that their forces have pursued all lines of inquiry and prosecuted offenders properly. He said that police forces “pursue all lines of inquiry and prosecute people where appropriate”. In addition, they have produced briefing and training notes and distributed these to all officers who are investigating revenge porn cases.

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