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Durham Law: Policy Engagement

Introducing the Research...

Image Based Sexual Abuse (also known as 'Revenge Pornography') often involves an abusive and/or ex-partner distributing sexual images without the consent of the person concerned. These intimate images routinely go viral and can be devasting for the victim.

England and Wales

Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley (The Univeristy of Birmingham) advised Members of The House of Lords throughout the drafting of new laws on revenge pornography.

The Criminal Justice and Courts Act received royal assent on the 12th February 2015. This Act creates a new offences of ‘Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress’.

The new law only covers private sexual images and the disclosure must be made without the consent of the person concerned. Distribution of the photo or video has to be with the specific intention to cause distress to the victim for it to fall under the Act.

Clare McGlynn is now working to highlight the limitations of this new law. The Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM), which Clare co-founded, are seeking to strengthen existing legislation by including pornographic photoshopping within the law and aim to secure support for all victims from specialist services.

Anonymity for Complainants of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

The Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM) has launched a new campaign seeking anonymity for all victim-survivors of image-based sexual abuse, including ‘revenge porn’.


The Scottish Government announced plans to introduce a new criminal law of disclosing an ‘intimate photograph or film’. Its aim is to tackle the problem of so-called ‘revenge porn’ and makes clear that the non-consensual distribution, or threat to disclose, private sexual images is criminal.

Clare has provided evidence to the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament. She has argued that the misuse of private sexual images is a new way of perpetrating old harms - the harassment and abuse of women.

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