Scotland

Hard-hitting posters highlight new 'revenge porn' law

Posters featuring pictures of naked man and woman covered in crime scene tape Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption The posters are part of a campaign highlighting the introduction of a new law making so-called 'revenge porn' illegal

Hard-hitting posters highlighting the dangers of so-called "revenge porn" have been launched by the Scottish government.

They show a mobile phone with nude pictures covered in crime scene tape.

And they warn that anyone who shares, or threatens to share, intimate images without consent could face a tough prison sentence.

Under new laws that come into force later this year, offenders could by jailed for up to five years.

The posters are part of a Scottish government campaign to raise awareness of the new Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Disclosing private images can be extremely cruel and degrading, and can cause fear and alarm.

"Sharing, or threatening to share, such images can also be used in a highly abusive and manipulative way to seek to control a partner or ex-partner."

Image copyright PA
Image caption 'There is no place for victimisation like this in modern Scotland', said Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

He added: "We have developed this campaign together with key agencies including Scottish Women's Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, Assist, Police Scotland and the Crown Office to ensure it reflects what we know is happening across Scotland and beyond.

"These organisations are seeing first-hand the incredible pain being caused by intimate images being passed around.

"Too many people are suffering because pictures of them, that they believed were only for a trusted person to see, are being shared online.

"Through this campaign and, working with the police and others, I'm determined to drive home the message that there is no place for victimisation like this in a modern Scotland and that those who think otherwise will soon face the full force of the law."

The law, passed unanimously by MSPs last March, aims to tackle so-called "revenge porn" and other non-consensual sharing of intimate images.

'Serious violation'

The move comes in response to a growing problem as easy access to devices like smart phones means pictures and videos taken with the expectation of privacy can be now far more easily shared publicly online through outlets such as social media.

Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland National coordinator, welcomed the campaign.

She said: "Sharing or threatening to share intimate images of someone without their consent is a serious violation and can be devastating to individuals targeted.

"This behaviour has emerged increasingly in recent years as a factor in sexually abusive behaviour and, in highlighting it as a serious criminal offence which will attract a substantial penalty, this legislation is an important and necessary development."

The new law also includes a requirement for judges, when dealing with sexual offence cases, to direct juries on how people may respond to becoming a victim of rape.

This is in order to help prevent the jurors being influenced by any pre-conceived views about how someone who has been raped should react.

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