House Of Lords Calls For Social Media Crackdown On 'Revenge Porn'

Peers Stopped Short Of Recognising Revenge Porn As A New Criminal Act

29.07.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A House of Lords committee has said social media sites need to crack down on “revenge porn”, the act of posting explicit imagery of ex-partner’s online without their permission following a break-up.

The Communications Committee said social media sites need to establish the identity of people opening accounts to reduce the frequency of “revenge porn”, claiming perpetrators should not be able to post in complete anonymity. 

However, it claimed the classification of “revenge porn” as a separate criminal offence was not required, as the act is covered by existing obscenity and harassment laws.

Two peers, Lord Marks and Baroness Grender, have proposed an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill that would allow for a one-year prison sentence for the publication of explicit images of ex-partners without their knowledge or consent. 

Ministers have recognised that the issue is a growing problem in the UK and they would be open to changing the law if the public and parliament supported the move. 

The House of Lords Communication Committee said existing guidelines should be improved to ensure the police and prosecutors achieve convictions.

Expert Opinion
The breakdown of a relationship or marriage can be extremely stressful for all parties involved and the temptation to exact revenge on an ex-partner can seem very appealing at the time – particularly if the break-up was not expected or is the result of an affair.

“However, posting explicit images of ex-partners without their knowledge or consent is not the way to handle a divorce or relationship breakdown. Not only can it have a detrimental impact on the life and employment opportunities of an ex-partner – which could impact on the financial aspect of a divorce, it can affect the lives of relatives, friends and any children from the relationship.

“Revenge may be an initial reaction while people are angry – but long term experience shows that rather than looking to ‘get even’, people should concentrate on trying to move on and not do something they may later regret. Especially if they are likely to go through a divorce or if they have family to consider.

“We would urge people going through a divorce or separation to seek advice from specialist lawyers, who can help them through the process and ensure the divorce proceedings are handled professionally.”
Alison Fernandes, Partner