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Sharing Intimate Images without Consent

A new law is now in force that makes it easier to prosecute people who share intimate images without consent.

With effect from Monday 3rd July, those convicted of the new offence of ‘disclosing, or threatening to disclose, an intimate photograph or film’ could face up to five years imprisonment under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016.

“Modern technology gives us the potential to link up or keep in touch with friends and loved ones around the world and opens up incredible opportunities, but the scale of its reach means that when it is abused to intimidate, harass or expose someone in this way, the impact can be hugely damaging,” explained Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

“There is no place for this abusive and manipulative behaviour in Scotland, and the threat of sharing images without consent will be viewed just as seriously as the act of sharing,” he added. “The maximum penalty of up to five years reflects the serious nature of this crime and anyone who shares or threatens to share an intimate image without consent will feel the full force of the law.”

The Scottish Government will be running a hard-hitting public awareness campaign to drive home the serious consequences of sharing intimate images or films of a current or former partner without their permission.

New research shows over three quarters (78%) of Scottish adults believe it should be illegal for someone to share an intimate image they’ve been sent. This rises to 82% of people in agreement that it should be illegal for someone to share an intimate image they’ve taken of their partner.

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