If someone takes photographs of their own private ‘bits’ and sends them to someone else, or allows themselves to be filmed engaging in a sexual act, then they are at potential risk of becoming victims of ‘Revenge Porn’.
I am not sure when or why such exhibitionism became the thing to do but I am assured it’s very popular and in teenage culture it’s worryingly rife. Many relationships end in bitterness, often with one party feeling upset, aggrieved and revengeful. No one should really be surprised that some scorned lovers will use the ploy of publishing these very private images on the Internet, to get back at their former partner.
However, the consequences of ‘Revenge Porn’ should not be easily dismissed, it’s a serious issue which can be extremely distressing and has led to suicides. There is no specific criminal offence which caters for ‘Revenge Porn’ although harassment and malicious communication laws can be used in some circumstances. One remedy appears to be through a civil route using human right privacy law to seek injunctions and damages.
So if you become a victim of ‘Revenge Porn’ the police may not necessarily be able to help and going to a solicitor will probably be very expensive. Even if you are successful in obtaining injunctions, some websites are set up in countries where an order to remove the images cannot be enforced.
So in some cases these very personal images or films will remain accessible on the Internet forever. That is something people of all ages, but particularly teenagers, really need to know before they allow the filming of themselves in a state of undress or engaging in a sexual act.
Nottinghamshire Police recently highlighted that 16 year olds passing on indecent photographs of themselves are committing a criminal offence. The phenomenon of ‘Revenge Porn’ needs to be dealt with by the creation of new criminal laws. Unfortunately, they will be complicated to draft, complex to investigate and difficult to enforce. Complaints emanating from the Internet and social media are taking up a considerable amount of police time and it’s a trend likely to substantially increase.
One efficient way of policing these Internet issues is for them all to be dealt with by a single National Cyber Crime Unit. That is unlikely to happen, so I would advise anyone to think twice before taking part in a DIY amateur porn film.