Social Media


Thursday, 22 March 2018

Victims withdrawing from legal action in revenge porn cases 'starting to become a problem'

Written by Jon Vale

Victims of revenge pornography withdrawing from legal action is "starting to become a problem", Labour has said.

Shadow solicitor general Nick Thomas-Symonds (pictured) also called for better data collection on the offence to monitor whether new laws to tackle revenge pornography are effective.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland said the Government would consider collecting more specific statistics around revenge pornography, adding that victims "will not suffer in silence".

There are concerns that a relatively small percentage of so-called revenge porn cases reported to the police have been passed to prosecutors for further action.

There have also been calls for victims to be given anonymity in the same way as victims of sexual offences.

"Victim withdrawal is also starting to become a problem in cases of revenge pornography, in respect of which the law was changed last year," Mr Thomas-Symonds said at Attorney General questions.

"What additional steps can we take to provide further support to victims, to ensure they get justice?"

Mr Buckland said: "He is right to raise the issue of victims' withdrawal, and indeed the recent consultation launched only a couple of weeks ago by the Government is looking at further ways to increase support.

"For example, a presumption that, in the case of domestic abuse, victims will get special measures, as opposed to having to demonstrate a particular vulnerability.

"I think any measures that we take in order to first of all preventing complainants from having to come to court, by giving evidence via live link, all of those measures need to be part of a continuing package.

"And the message needs to go out that victims will not suffer in silence and they will be supported."

Mr Thomas-Symonds replied that he had quizzed ministers before over data collection.

"Can I ask that, in these cases of revenge pornography, we do now carefully collect data about the number of reportings, the number of prosecutions, and then the numbers that are dealt with in terms of fines, prison, community orders and harassment orders?" he added.

"That way, we can monitor whether or not this is actually working."

Mr Buckland said: "He makes a proper point, I think, about the importance of data collection.

"I think the question has been the need to disaggregate particular batches of data in order for us to understand them better.

"I think the CPS has certainly improved on that. We have started to disaggregate in a number of areas and I will follow up the matter that he's raised with me specifically on revenge pornography."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) http://www.nickthomassymonds.uk