The people – including children – convicted of revenge porn in Birmingham

The West Midlands is a hotspot for revenge porn, with people in the area twice as likely as the national average to be found guilty of the crime.

There were 22 convictions for disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress in the West Midlands police area in 2016.

This was a rate of 7.8 convictions per 1m people, nearly twice the England rate of 4.3 per 1m.

Of those convicted in 2016, 20 were men, one was a women, and one was not stated. The numbers were up from 16 convictions, of men, in the nine months from April to December 2015.

Across England and Wales, there were 293 adults proceeded against and 247 convictions for revenge porn in 2016. This was up from 268 people proceeded against and 218 convictions between April and December 2015.

The majority of people found guilty in England and Wales were men, with 216 found guilty in 2016, along with 30 women, and one case where gender was not stated.

Six boys aged under 18 were also proceeded against on charges relating to revenge porn in 2016, with two convictions, compared to three proceeded against and three convictions in 2015. One girl aged under 18 was also proceeded against and convicted in 2016.

The offence, under Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, came into force on April 13, 2015. The Revenge Porn Helpline was launched in February 2015 to help tackle the problem of people sharing intimate images online.

Judges have discretionary powers to prohibit the naming of victims if identification would affect the case and cause undue fear or distress.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Revenge porn is an awful abuse of trust which can leave victims feeling humiliated and degraded. Since we changed the law, there have been over 550 prosecutions for this offence which carries a maximum sentence of two years behind bars – proving our tough stance is working.

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

The figures, released by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information request, relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with.

The number of defendants found guilty in a particular year may exceed the number proceeded against as the proceedings in the magistrates’ court took place in an earlier year and the defendants were found guilty at the Crown Court in the following year; or the defendants were found guilty of a different offence to that for which they were originally proceeded against.