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Sharing images without consent 05/07/2017 The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 is now in force, making it easier to prosecute people who share intimate images without consent.

Sharing images without consent

The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 is now in force, making it easier to prosecute people who share intimate images without consent. Those convicted of the new offence of ‘disclosing, or threatening to disclose, an intimate photograph or film’ could face up to five years imprisonment.

The offence:

  • covers photographs or films showing people engaged in a sexual activity which would not usually be done in public, or with their genitals, buttocks or breasts exposed or covered only with underwear
  • doesn’t cover the sharing of other materials such as private text messages and emails which are dealt with under separate legislation
  • doesn’t apply to sharing photographs of naked protests or streakers at sports matches.

“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,” said 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.”

 

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