Revenge porn—disclosing private sexual photographs and films
Produced in partnership with BCL Burton Copeland
Revenge porn—disclosing private sexual photographs and films

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with BCL Burton Copeland provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Revenge porn—disclosing private sexual photographs and films
  • The need to legislate
  • The legislation—CJCA 2015, s 33
  • Definitions under CJCA 2015, s 33
  • Mens rea for disclosing private sexual images
  • Defences—investigation of crime, public interest journalism, and commercial sale
  • Is an offence notifiable under the Sexual Offences Act 2003?
  • Sentences for disclosing private sexual images
  • Other offences that may apply to revenge porn
  • Crown Prosecution Service guidance

Revenge porn—disclosing private sexual photographs and films

On 13 April 2015, section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (CJCA 2015) came into force, making it illegal to show or distribute sexual images or videos of another person without their permission.

The measures were introduced in response to the growing phenomenon of circulating private sexually explicit photographs and videos, typically of former partners. This has colloquially come to be known as ‘revenge porn’.

The need to legislate

Although there are other existing offences which capture some instances of such conduct (see: Other offences that may apply to revenge porn below), this offence is specifically tailored to a practice that has proliferated as camera phones and webcams have become commonplace, use of social media has increased, and our sense of privacy has accordingly changed.

The legislation—CJCA 2015, s 33

An offence is committed when a person (D) discloses to a third party:

  1. a private sexual photograph or film

  2. without the consent of the person depicted (V), and

  3. with the intention of causing V distress

Definitions under CJCA 2015, s 33

An image or video is ‘disclosed’ to a person if, by any means, it is given or shown to the person or it is made available to the person. This goes further than electronic distribution; physically showing an intimate image or video to someone, without V’s consent, is now an offence.

An

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