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Laws around taking, making and sharing intimate images without consent to be reviewed

‘Revenge pornography’ legislation under consideration

The Ministry of Justice has announced that the Law Commission will undertake a review of the criminal law as it applies to taking, making and sharing intimate images without consent.

This follows a recommendation made in the Commission's Abusive and Offensive Online Communications Scoping Report, published in November 2018. The Commission concluded that the criminal law's response to online privacy abuses should be reviewed, considering in particular whether the criminal law can deal adequately with emerging technology such as "deepfake" pornography and the harmful behaviour it facilitates.

The project will consider legislation such as the "revenge pornography" provisions under section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, and if necessary, propose means of reform. This project is part of the second phase of the Abusive and Offensive Online Communications Project.

The Commission aims to publish a Consultation Paper, inviting views on any recommendations for reform, in 2020.

Prof David Ormerod QC, Criminal Law Commissioner, said:

"Taking, making and sharing intimate images without consent causes distress and can ruin lives.

"If the criminal laws are not up to scratch, we will propose reform that protects victims more effectively from this criminal behaviour."

The Law Commission has two related projects:

It is anticipated that consultation papers on each of these projects will be published in Spring 2020.