Revenge porn the ‘fastest-growing issue’ for youngsters in Dundee as kids under 16 report abuse

 

Children under the age of 16 are among several reported victims of “revenge porn” in Dundee.

A total of 23 people have reported the non-consensual sharing of intimate images or threats to do so since new legislation – which means anyone convicted of sharing intimate images without consent could face up to five years in prison – came into force.

Of the 23 reports, four involved children aged under 16.

A further three reports involved young people aged between 16-19. While the age of consent is 16, pornographic images of anyone under the age of 18 are illegal under UK law.

Laurie Matthew, manager at confidential children’s support service Eighteen and Under, said revenge porn was one of the “fastest growing” issues for young people in Dundee.

She said: “We believe very few people actually report it because of the intimidation that comes with it.

“That’s enough for young people to be afraid that pictures will get out. The threat of an image being sent to friends or even families can be very damaging for a young person.”

However, Ms Matthew added that the new laws – which came into force on July 3 last year – had given more people the confidence.

“I think more people are coming forward now because they can try to get some sort of justice,” she said.

“The police are very supportive but it can be scary going to them about anything.

“If young people are afraid to go to the police, they can come to an agency like us or Childline to get advice and we can help them.

“There should be absolutely no shame reporting it because that’s on the person doing this – it’s a crime.”

The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act criminalises the act of sharing an intimate image of a person without their consent.

Even threatening to share an intimate image is an offence under the new law, which was brought in as a response to the growth of image sharing via social media.

Lesley McGee, an advocacy worker with the Women’s Rape And Sexual Abuse Centre (WRASAC) in Dundee, said revenge porn can stem from soured relationships.

She added: “It can be a relationship which has not ended on good terms, or an image has been shared in confidence, or someone who hasn’t felt able to say no.

“There is a perception that this is something that’s just seen as what people do in relationships these days.

“Ultimately, it’s your choice and you should feel able to say no but there is so much pressure on young people these days.

“Everybody uses social media now and has a phone with a camera.

“That comes with a lot of responsibility – especially for young people.

“We run education sessions in schools that come across very well. But many young people aren’t aware there are laws against this now.”

Sixteen threats to disclose images were recorded in Dundee, with nine of those successfully detected.

Seven disclosures were recorded, of which three were detected.

The statistics were obtained from Police Scotland using freedom of information laws.

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