'Revenge porn' is to be made illegal in the UK

Distributing "revenge porn" will soon result in a maximum jail term of two years

Publishing "revenge porn" is to become a new offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

The legislation, which is currently going through Parliament, will cover any private sexual image of someone that is circulated, both on and offline, without their consent and designed to cause distress.

Distributing sexually explicit pictures of individuals on the internet, or via text, has become ever more common, as people seek easy ways to exact revenge on former partners when a relationship has ended.

The move to legislate comes after it was discovered that children as young as 11 had been victims. Other victims have been blackmailed into having sex after explicit material was uploaded to the internet.

Celebrities, including pop stars Rihanna and Tulisa Contostavlos, has also fallen prey to the craze.

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Tulisa Contostavlos has been a victim of revenge porn

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, said: "The fact that there are individuals who are cruelly distributing intimate pictures of their former partners without their consent is almost beyond belief.

"We want those who fall victim to this type of disgusting behaviour to know that we are on their side and will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice.

"That is why we will change the law and make it absolutely clear to those who act in this way that they could face prison."

The new offence will cover photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public.

Figures for the eight police forces that record allegations of "revenge porn", show there were 149 reports of related crimes during the last two-and-a-half years.

The vast majority of victims were women - with only six incidents resulting in any sort of police caution or charge.

Adam Pemberton, assistant chief executive for the charity Victim Support, explained: "This type of behaviour can be extremely distressing for its victims causing them significant psychological harm.

"We are pleased that people who commit these gross violations of privacy will now face prosecution and victims of revenge porn know they have the full backing of the law."

Additional Reporting by Press Association

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