To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of reclassifying the offence of posting explicit or sexual images online without permission as a sex offence; and if he will make a statement.
The offence at Section 33 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015 criminalises the disclosure of private sexual photographs or films without the consent of an individual who appears in them and with the intent to cause that individual distress.
Such behaviour is a terrible abuse of trust which can leave victims feeling humiliated and degraded.
I am glad to see people are being prosecuted under this new offence which carries a maximum sentence of two years behind bars.
At the time the offence was brought in it was deliberately designed to strengthen existing law by targeting the malicious non-consensual sharing of private sexual images, a motive more akin to the offence of blackmail. This decision was taken after consultation with victims who strongly supported the focus on the malicious nature of this behaviour.