Offenders who send pictures to family members face two years in jail under new guidelines – UK

The most serious offences will be those which the court judges have been calculated to induce “maximum distress”, such as sending images to a victim’s family who are very religious, or to a younger sibling.

Offenders will also face tougher punishment if they set up social media accounts pretending to be the victim or spread a large number of pictures to a wide audience.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said he welcomed the plans and said: “Revenge porn is an awful abuse of trust which can leave victims feeling humiliated and degraded.

“By making it a specific offence, we sent a clear message that this crime will not be tolerated.”

Other offences covered by the new guidelines include domestic abuse and “intimidatory crimes” such as harassment, stalking, controlling and coercive behaviour and threats to kill.

They reflect tougher penalties for stalking and harassment introduced earlier this year. The maximum jail sentence was doubled from five to ten years by the Government following pressure from MPs. For racially-aggravated harassment the maximum sentence was raised from seven to 14 years.

The most serious penalties will be reserved for offenders who target their victims at times which are more likely to cause distress, such as on the day of a funeral.

The definition of domestic abuse has been widened to reflect types of abuse other than violence, such as coercive and controlling behaviour.

This includes limiting the victim’s access to money, preventing them from having friendships or hobbies or determining when they are allowed to eat, sleep and go to the toilet.