Drive to stamp out ‘revenge porn’ offences

Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson (centre).

Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson (centre).

1
Have your say

With the new year now underway, it is just three months until a landmark law comes in to force in Scotland, making so-called ‘revenge porn’ disclosures a criminal offence.

The new law under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act will mean that, from April 1, being convicted of the offence of disclosing or threatening to disclose an intimate photo or video will carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

The offence will cover situations where someone shares either filmed and still images of another person in an intimate situation. This includes images taken in private where someone is nude or clothed only in underwear or showing a person engaged in a sexual act.

The specific new law is being introduced to address a growing problem – as easy access to devices like smart phones mean pictures and videos taken with the expectation of privacy can now far more easily be shared publicly online through, for example, social media.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We will not tolerate domestic abuse and harassment in a progressive and modern Scotland, which is why we have taken these measures to create this new criminal offence.

“Recklessly disclosing private and intimate images taken when privacy is expected can be extremely cruel and degrading for victims, as well as causing fear and alarm. It may also be symptomatic of highly abusive and manipulative behaviour towards an ex-partner.

“This new offence, which comes into force very soon, sends out a strong warning to anyone considering sharing such images. This move reflects technological changes and acknowledges the distress inflicted by this serious crime.

“We know legislation alone is not enough to tackle abusive behaviour and sexual violence. That is why we are taking forward a whole range of work in our drive to eliminate it in all its forms from Scottish society.”