Revenge porn 'on the rise in the UK', campaigners warn

Charities are calling for targeted legislation to deal specifically with the issue

Revenge porn is on the rise in the UK, charities and leading support groups are warning.

The UK Safer Internet Centre, The National Stalking Helpline and Women's Aid say the problem is escalating in Britain. Some victims have even reported having their personal details published linking them to explicit pictures online.

Laura Higgins, helpline manager at the UK Safer Internet Centre, told the BBC her organisation has noticed a marked increase in the number of incidents reported over the past 12 months.

"What we're getting is just the tip of the iceberg," she said."So many people are simply too embarrassed and humiliated to seek help or advice.

"There is legislation here in the UK but I don't think it's very co-ordinated. It depends very much on who your local police force are and whether your courts have had experience of dealing with these issues."

Groups are now calling for the UK to enforce similar laws used to ban revenge porn in California, Texas and Utah.

In December last year, Kevin Bollaert was arrested in California for allegedly running revenge porn website UGotPosted, which invited people to submit sexually explicit images of their former lovers.

Politicians in New York are also campaigning for similar policies to be introduced.

Read more: 'Revenge porn' now illegal in California

The UK does not have specific legislation to combat the practice, although certain privacy and harassment laws can be applied if a person has committed more than one offence against their ex-partner.

Read more: We need new laws to put a stop to revenge porn

York University student Heather Robertson began her own campaign to end the practice when a fellow student found explicit pictures of herself had been uploaded onto Facebook and then onto a revenge porn website, and was unable to get them removed.

Ms Robertson is calling on the Prime Minister David Cameron to recognise the practice as a sexual offence. Her petition has garnered 2,500 signatures, but needs 100,000 to spark a parliamentary debate.

“It should be encrypted into an act about privacy online, or in the sexual offenders act of sexual harassment act," she told The Telegraph. "The idea is that the effect it has on your life should be recognised.”

In her petition, she writes: "Once these photos are online it is close to impossible to have them permanently removed as they are featured on so many sites, not only do victims have to come to terms with the fact that they will essentially be accessible for the foreseeable future, but they have no way of seeking justice from the malicious person that put them there."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border