The Law Commission is reviewing the UK's laws on sharing intimate images without consent, and asking for the public's views. The consultation is open until Thursday 27th May - just a few days to go. This is a vital chance to have your say - please help us spread the word.
Intimate image abuse shatters lives and our laws are riddled with loopholes. But we have a chance to change this. We’ve made a guide to help people respond to the Law Commission's review, remember this is only a guide - please adapt to suit your views or you can simply copy and paste our answers. You don’t need to answer all the questions. Our recommendations quote from a policy briefing by Professor Clare McGlynn and Professor Erika Rackley.
QUESTION 1: Do consultees agree that there should be a base offence with no additional intent?
- We think YES! We need ‘one comprehensive, straightforward offence’ that covers taking or sharing intimate images without consent – ‘regardless of motives’.
- We need laws that cover all the different types of this abuse and protect against new technologies and fake media.
- We need laws that clearly focus on the lack of consent, to drive education and cultural change.
(the quotes, here and below, are from McGlynn & Rackley)
QUESTIONS 2 + 3: Should there be an additional offence where the defendant intended to humiliate, alarm or distress the victim, or where the defendant’s purpose was to obtain sexual gratification?
- We think NO! Motives are ‘rarely clear-cut’ and there’s ‘no evidence harms are worse’ when the motive is sexual gratification or ‘causing distress.’
- This might create an unnecessary ‘hierarchy of victims-survivors’
- The law needs to be ‘as straightforward as possible’ so it can be enforced
‘More serious offending’ is better ‘reflected in sentencing.’
QUESTION 4: Do consultees agree that there should be an offence of threatening to share an intimate image?
- We think YES! This is so important to protect victims, especially regarding their mental health and in domestic abuse contexts.
QUESTION 9: to what extent should images which are considered intimate within particular religious groups be included in intimate image offences?
- The law must recognise the intersectional experience of harms, as ‘victim-survivors from religious, black and minoritized groups are already subject to higher levels of online abuse’
- We recommend ‘adapting the Australian civil law regime, which provides protection in some circumstances’
QUESTION 16: should anonymity orders be available for all victims?
- We think YES! ‘Automatic anonymity is vital in order to encourage victim-survivors to report their abuse and continue cases’.
QUESTION 18: what else could the government do?
- We need better civil remedies and a ‘new regulatory agency’ that is survivor-focused, like ‘Australia’s E-Safety Commission.’
- We need a body with the ‘power to order take-down of images’
- It could also offer ‘advice’ and ‘assistance to victim-survivors,’ ‘specialist support services’ like ‘counselling and legal advocacy,’ and lead ‘public information and educational initiatives to challenge cultural attitudes’
- An e-safety commission would create a powerful supportive pathway for victim-survivors to take back control.
WE ARE CALLING ON THE GOVERNMENT TO CREATE AN E-SAFETY COMMISSION
**** The recommendations quoted are taken from a policy briefing by Professor Clare McGlynn and Professor Erika Rackley. You can find the full briefing: HERE.
To access the Law Commission’s Consultation please follow the link HERE.