Victims of revenge porn should be granted anonymity, says Justice Minister

The fact that they aren’t already is staggering


Victims of revenge porn could soon have the same rights to anonymity as victims of other sexual offences thanks to a suggestion by a justice minister.

Phillip Lee, the minister for victims, youth and family justice, told the House of Commons that he would consider the move to help combat the “terrible abuse of trust which can leave victims feeling humiliated and degraded”.

He added: “By making it a specific offence carrying a maximum sentence of two years behind bars, we have sent a clear message this crime will not be tolerated.”

Revenge porn was officially made an offence in April last year. Since then there have been 200 prosecutions according to Maria Miller, who chairs the women and equalities committee. However Miller added that while there have been 200 convictions there have been over 1,000 reports of the crime made to police over the same period.

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She pointed out: “As with other sex-related crimes, perhaps anonymity for victims needs to be carefully considered in the cases of revenge pornography.”

Mr Lee said: “With regards to anonymity, I’m interested in what [Mrs Miller] is saying and if she’d like to write to me on that issue I will consider it”.

Without proper protection to shield the identity of the victim, revenge porn can be a devastating crime which can continue to affect a victim for years to come. Liz* was a victim of revenge porn after a one night stand, after she was surreptitiously filmed having sex by one of the boy’s friends.

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She says at the time the backlash was devastating, and she struggled to cope: “I didn’t understand how to deal with it and thought that it was my fault anyway – a friend who had found the video which circulated said it was my own fault and I believed her, it seemed like the general opinion.

“I didn’t understand why I was being blamed and they weren’t so I just ignored the whole thing cut them out of my life. Most people who I knew when it happened I cut from my life because I didn’t know how to deal with it.

“It never really stops. Like people stopped talking about it within a month or two but everyone still knows and I know that the video is probably still out there somewhere because there’s no way you can make sure every single copy is deleted.”