Revenge porn 'seen as okay' by some young people, student says (Herald Scotland)
Brian Donnelly @BrianDonnellyHT Senior News Reporter

STUDENTS have told how so-called revenge porn was "seen as okay" among some younger people as a campaign to support a new law against posting such material online was launched.

The new legislation will make it easier to prosecute people who share intimate images without consent.

Those convicted of the new offence of "disclosing, or threatening to disclose, an intimate photograph or film" could face up to five years imprisonment.

The hard-hitting public awareness campaign will drive home the serious consequences of sharing intimate images or films of a current or former partner without their permission.

Young people who backed the campaign said at the launch in Edinburgh that there have previously been grey areas over the practice.

Student Paolo Tisi said: "A lot of the time if people break up it’s seen as okay that now the relationship is over people can just send the images.

"It hasn’t happened to me personally but it’s happened to friends before."

Jordan Dermott said: "It might seem like a good idea at the time but these images are stored online forever somewhere.
"Whether it’s five years ten years down the line, if you’re trying to get a job, it might make it very difficult for that."

Revenge porn was made illegal in England and Wales in 2015, and earlier this year the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act, criminalising the non-consensual sharing of intimate media, was introduced.

The legislation goes further in Scotland, as it includes the threat to share images.

Michael Matheson, Scottish Justice Secretary, said: "Modern technology gives us the potential to link up or keep in touch with friends and loved ones around the world and opens up incredible opportunities, but the scale of its reach means that when it is abused to intimidate, harass or expose someone in this way, the impact can be hugely damaging.

“There is no place for this abusive and manipulative behaviour in Scotland, and the threat of sharing images without consent will be viewed just as seriously as the act of sharing."

He said the maximum penalty reflects the serious nature of the crime and added: "Anyone who shares or threatens to share an intimate image without consent will feel the full force of the law.”

Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said: “So called ‘revenge porn’ is not about revenge, and it’s not about porn.
"It’s about power, control and humiliation."

Detective Superintendent Gordon McCreadie, of Police Scotland, said: "The threat and impact of sharing intimate pictures or video cannot be underestimated.

"The results can be debilitating for victims and affect their home, work and social lives, at times, beyond repair.
"It is a betrayal of trust and now it is also illegal."

Sandy Brindley, chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “People need to know that this is a crime, and that if they share an image, or threaten to do this, without consent they could be facing a jail sentence.”

Around 90 per cent of victims are women. LGBT people, according to a 2016 American study, are also at a higher risk than straight people, with lesbian and bisexual women the biggest victims.

The new campaign has been developed by Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, Zero Tolerance, Police Scotland and the Crown Office, all of whom are involved in dealing with the crime and its consequences.

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