Social Media & Revenge Porn

Social Media

Although there has been significant amounts of media publicity and public outcry regarding social media abuse & so called 'revenge porn', there are a significant number of existing criminal offences under which these offences can be prosecuted.

Mortons Solicitors have for many years been specialists in representing clients charged with these offences.

Offences contrary to the Malicious Communications Act 1988 include under section 1 the sending of electronic communications which are indecent, grossly offensive, threatening or false, provided there is an intention to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient.

Under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 it is an offence to send or cause to be sent through a 'public electronic communications network' a message that is 'grossly offensive' or of an 'indecent, obscene or menacing character'. And where there is multiple incidents, or the incident forms part of a course of conduct directed towards an individual, the offence of harassment should be considered under Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

In cases of 'revenge pornography' the issue will be whether the message or communication is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false, not whether the image itself is indecent or obscene.

The most serious of these offences however are where the images may have been taken when the victim was under 18 as these are considered "indecent images" under the Protection of Children Act 1978.
There is also the offence of blackmail if the person responsible has threatened to publish an intimate photograph unless you do or don’t do something.  In most serious cases, where intimate images are used to coerce victims into further sexual activity, other offences may be charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

It is therefore essential to obtain legal representation for any of these offences if being interviewing by the police or appearing at court. Legal Aid may be available.

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