Will ‘revenge porn’ be outlawed?

The House of Lords have moved one step closer to criminalising the sharing of revenge porn following the tabling of a new amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. The amendment would make it an offence to publish a private sexual image of another identifiable person without their consent, and is focused on the distress caused to the victims.

The amendment was tabled by the Lib Dem side of the Coalition Government – the proposers being Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, Baroness Grender, Baroness Brinton & Baroness Barker.

The proposal follows a hard fought campaign by Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert, who has previously highlighted the issue in the House of Commons and campaigned for a change in the law.

The amendment is expected to be debated on 22 October 2014, during the report stage of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.

Hannah Thompson, who started the campaign to outlaw revenge porn, commented on the news of the Lords motion:

“It made me really ill to see that my ex-boyfriend had published pictures of me online.

“I remember thinking at the time that this must be illegal. When I found out it wasn’t I started my campaign to ban revenge porn but I never thought anyone would listen to me.

“The law needs to be changed and I am glad to see that we have a real chance to make this happen.”

The issue is of particular interest to bisexual – and indeed gay – people, as for many of us there is the additional threat of being outed to friends, work colleagues, family members or even current partners. Revenge porn can be a threat as well as an action – imagine having “if you don’t do what I want I will send this video to your partner who doesn’t know you’re bisexual” hanging over you.