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‘Insufficient evidence’ makes Brit cops drop revenge porn probes

SnapChat, WhatsApp, Facebook highlighted in research

By John Leyden, 13 Oct 2015

Many of the 175 cases of revenge porn offences investigated by UK police since a change of the law since April were dropped because of insufficient evidence, suggesting that victims are too frightened.

Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 became law in April in an attempt to stem the rising tide of revenge pornography incidents, which commonly involved spurned lovers posting explicit images of their former partners to websites or shared through social media.

The new law created an offence of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress.

A survey by the Parliament Street think tank, sourced using Freedom of Information legislation, revealed data and notes from 18 police forces in the UK covering 175 investigations.

Crime data and police notes reveal offenders use text threats, Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp to bully and abuse victims. Of the police forces which responded to the requests for information, Greater Manchester Police reported the highest number of incidents at 31. This was followed by Northamptonshire, which cited 21 investigations with only one person charged.

Parliament Street also requested data for which type of technology platform was used. Abuse of Facebook featured in 21 cases in the sample, with SnapChat (three cases) and WhatsApp (two cases) also cropping up in some police complaints.

Nick Viney, EMEA VP at Intel Security said: “The findings revealed in Parliament Street’s report are very upsetting and sadly, just the tip of the iceberg. Recent research from Intel Security found that over half of Brits (55 per cent) have intimate content stored on their phones, and 96 per cent say they trust their partners not to post this explicit content online. Yet, the reality is that ex-partners are doing this much too often.” ®

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