A woman was given a sentence of six weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, after posting explicit images of another woman on the internet.
Paige Mitchell is believed to be the first woman sentenced under the new laws that came into force last year. The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 made it an offence to disclose private sexual images of another person without their consent, with the intent to cause the individual distress.
Mitchell had had an argument with the victim earlier in the day, and after assaulting her had gone on to post the explicit images on Facebook, as well as posting further insults and even mentioning the assault online.
Those prosecuted under the new law have so far exclusively been men, but this case sends a message that anyone who posts explicit images with the intention to harm another person falls under the same legislation.
Joanna Coleman, the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in the case, commented, “These vengeful crimes are predominantly thought of as being carried out by men. This sentencing will highlight that anyone can be guilty of this offence and regardless of the defendant’s gender, once reported, it will be taken seriously. Crimes where an intimate image of an individual is shared without their permission in such a public forum is invasive, humiliating and distressing for the victim and leaves them feeling violated. It can have a huge impact on the victim and I am pleased that more people are having the confidence to come forward and report these crimes.”
Guidance on the offence of Revenge Porn covers images shared both offline and online, whether images are shared via email, text message, social media or other platforms. To be covered by the offence, the images must be private or sexual. The new law was put in place because existing laws on sending obscene images dating from 2003 did not cover all the eventualities offered by new communications technologies.
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