Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Revenge Porn Victims Could Be Granted Anonymity, MP Says

Revenge Porn Victims Could Be Granted Anonymity, MP Says

The Debrief: This move could give revenge porn victims the same safeguarding that victims of other sex crimes get…

Revenge porn is a humiliating act whereby someone with some minimal butt-hurt goes out of their way to upset another person by publishing images of them, not meant for public consumption, or even the perpetrator’s consumption, and publishing them online. It’s rife, and it’s only been made a crime in the past year.

However, it’s still not treated as a proper sex crime, in that, if a victim of revenge porn goes forward to police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and then, possibly, court, their name will be attached to the case. Their name can be published and, well, that isn’t what happens to alleged victims of any other sex crime.

In 1992 (yep, as late as 1992!) it was made law that when someone is a victim of a sex crime, as soon as they report it to the police, they’re entitled to life-long anonymity in the press. It doesn’t quite seem fair, then, that alleged victims of revenge porn don’t get this treatment, especially when you consider that many revenge porn websites (man, imagine having ‘revenge porn site CEO’ as your job title, well, until you go to jail) will encourage users to post the name and personal details of the victim. Oh, and also, anyone reporting such an obviously shameful crime committed by someone with such little respect for the victim in the first place, could, if publicly named, face increased threat of retribution from the perpetrator’s mates, family and other assorted enablers.

What to do? Well, an MP has suggested getting anonymity for those alleged victims of revenge porn. Dr Phillip Lee told the House of Commons this move could put a halt to the ‘terrible abuse of trust which can leave victims feeling humiliated and degraded’. Revenge porn was made an offence in April 2015 and since, there have been 1000 reports of it but only 200 convictions. This sort of crime has a digital footprint, so it should have a slightly higher conviction rate, but then it’s easy to see why victims might not want to pursue charges in court. The more people who take their cases to court, the more convictions, the more idiots learn that, even if they don’t care about the haunting consequences of this brand of humiliation, it could land them in deep trouble.

MP Maria Miller, who chairs the women and equalities committee, responded: ‘As with other sex-related crimes, perhaps anonymity for the victims needs to be carefully considered.’

Dr Lee responded, reports The Times: ‘with regards to anonymity, I’m interested in what [Mrs Miller] is saying and if she’d like to write to me on that issue I will consider it.’

If you’d like to write to Phillip or Maria with your thoughts about this potential plan, here are their email addresses: phillip.lee.mp@parliament.uk and maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk

Like this? You might also be interested in:

New UK Revenge Porn Law Sees Its First Conviction

Sex Education Is Treated Worse Than Any Other Subject. Why?

Woman Gets Boobs Copyrighted To Avoid Revenge Porn

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: Politics, revenge porn