Wednesday 27 June 2018 / 6:11 AM Crime / Dawn Butler / Richard Burgon

Labour calls on the Government to grant anonymity to protect “revenge porn” victims

Ahead of the “upskirting” bill coming before Parliament on Monday, Labour is calling on the Tories to bring forward legislation in Government time to ensure greater legal protection to “revenge porn” victims by granting them anonymity, a move that would bring the offence in line with other sexual crimes.

Victims are not currently granted anonymity when they go to the police or to court. This has led to victims not supporting charges for fear of their names being reported in the press.

Victims of a sexual offence have automatic anonymity under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. However, due to Image-Based Sexual Abuse (commonly known as “revenge porn”) not currently being classified as a sexual offence, victims are not granted this right when they pursue charges. Campaigners believe that the lack of anonymity contributes to one in three allegations of revenge porn being withdrawn by the complainant, but the Government has previously refused to commit to changing the law.

Labour is calling for Image-Based Sexual Abuse to be classed as a sexual offence in order to close the current loophole in the law and ensure victims are automatically entitled to the protection of anonymity.

Dawn Butler MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said:

“People who post revenge porn to try and humiliate their partners or exes are committing a serious, warped sexual offence, and should be treated as so by law.

“The Government must act to grant anonymity to victims of this vile crime, which has destroyed lives and sadly pushed some to taking their own lives. The Tories should ensure parliamentary time is given to change this law, which Labour will be proud to support.”

Richard Burgon MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said:

“Laws to tackle sexual abuse need to be brought into the 21st century. It is a gross injustice that victims of Image-Based Sexual Abuse, who have already had their privacy violated in a disgusting betrayal of trust, face having their identity made public when seeking to pursue charges.

“It puts pressure on victims not to do so and lets perpetrators off the hook. The law needs to change. The Tories must act.”