A new report on “Intimate Image Abuse” has been released by The Law Commission of England and Wales. It reveals the latest statistics around the prevalence of non-consensual sharing of intimate images and makes clearer the harmful impact this can have on victims.
The study found that one in five adults in England and Wales have ‘experienced non-consensual sharing of intimate images’. This most often occurred in cases of domestic abuse or relationship breakdown, and the majority of victims are women.
The Law Commission took time to showcase the harmful impact this form of abuse can have on victims. Many reported psychological repercussions, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Victims also shared that they felt unsupported, often not seeking legal action due to a ‘lack of legal protection’.
The report concludes that significant changes must be made to legal procedures in order to address intimate image abuse effectively. This included a suggestion for a new criminal offence for perpetrators of non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and an improvement for victim support services and general education on the risks and consequences of this issue. It is important that we all work together to ensure intimate image abuse is prevented and that its victims are supported without stigma. We must encourage education for all age-groups around intimate image abuse and provide support that allows its victims to recover and rebuild their lives. We must also champion legal reform when it comes to charging any perpetrators of this abusive image distribution.
The report provided by the Law Commission outlines a clear path forward to a safer world for all. It is important we take it into consideration and act upon the recommendations when we can.