Two laws cover this area of child sex offences: the Protection of Children Act 1978 (PCA 1978) and the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (CJA 1988).
Under the PCA 1978, an offence is committed if a person deliberately or knowingly took, made, permitted to be taken, distributed or showed indecent photographs (or pseudo-photographs created by computer or other graphic method) of a child or possessed them in order to distribute or show them or published any advertisement for indecent photographs of children.
The CJA 1988 covers the offence of possession of an indecent photograph of a child.
Maximum penalties for these offences range from six months’ imprisonment and/or the maximum fine to five years under the CJA and 10 years under the PCA.
Offenders are also subject to ancillary orders which includes signing the sex offenders register and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which means adults are barred from engaging in regulated activity with children.
In April 2015, the government introduced new legislation for people who share sexually explicit images without the subject’s consent.
‘Revenge porn is the sharing of private sexual images (or videos) of another person without the subjects consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress’
Under this piece of legislation, a suspect convicted of an offence of this nature, can face a prison sentence of up to 6 months in the Magistrates Court and up to 2 years at the Crown Court.
An example of revenge porn would be an ex partner uploading a sexual explicit image of the victim to the internet, Facebook or Twitter or sending the image to their friends or family. It is irrelevant whether victim consented to the image being taken in the first place. If the image is uploaded without their consent and with the intention of causing distress, humiliation and embarrassment to the victim, then the police are likely to prosecute.
If the images taken are of a person under the age of 18, further offences may be considered under the Protection of Children Act 1978.
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