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Accused of revenge porn? What you need to know

With an increasing number of platforms available to upload photographs, it has now become second nature for people to share moments of their life on a weekly, daily and even hourly basis. While there is no law against how many images you can take and distribute, it’s important to know what material could result in a criminal conviction.

Revenge porn criminalises those who share intimate photographs without consent. If you are facing revenge porn allegations, it’s crucial that you fully understand the potential implications of such accusations under Scottish law.

For more information on how our sexual offence lawyers can help you, get in touch by calling 01383 730 466 or you can request a callback by completing the online enquiry form here.

What is revenge porn?

Under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016, a person has committed an offence if they disclose (or threaten to disclose) sexual, private films and pictures with the intent to cause emotional distress. It is the action of publicly sharing intimate images of another individual without consent, with the intention to embarrass, shame and upset them.

The distribution of such images and videos can happen online and offline, and applies to files being shared electronically or in-person by showing a third-party explicit material.

What constitutes an ‘intimate’ image?

A film or photograph is considered 'intimate' under the 2016 Act if it is material that wouldn't typically be seen in public. This could be a sexual photograph exposing genitals, or considered sexual in some other way because of its general nature.

What is the sentence for revenge porn?

The offence will be considered serious if the aim of sharing the material is to cause the maximum amount of distress possible, such as sending images or videos to the person’s immediate relatives, or setting up fake online social media accounts to post material (and inviting others to comment on that material).

The maximum sentence that can be given for revenge porn offences is up to five years imprisonment in Scotland. The sentence received will be influenced by several factors such as level of responsibility, previous convictions and criminal record. If genuine remorse is demonstrated, with no prior criminal record, the sentence may be reduced. 

Are there any defences that can be put forward?

To be convicted of revenge porn, it must be proven that the intimate image disclosed was distributed with the intent to cause emotional harm and distress, and that the individual in the material was not aware of distribution and didn't consent to it. Therefore, you may have a defence if you held ‘reasonable belief’ that the person consented.

How we can help if you’re accused of revenge porn

If you have been accused of revenge porn, you'll need specialised advice that is tailored to your individual case, and experienced legal professionals with a robust knowledge of sexual offences in Scotland and a determined approach to winning your case.

At Martin, Johnston & Socha, we will be able to guide you through the legal process and help put your mind at ease. You can instruct us to deal with plea advice, police station representation, bail application, protection of reputation, rights and interests, case analysis, defence compilation, court representation and the appeals process.  

Contact our Sexual Offence Solicitors Alloa, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline

We can provide a comprehensive legal service and are willing to guide you through every step of the legal process – from police interview to the courtroom. Our expert team of sexual offence solicitors are waiting to hear from you and will discuss your options in complete confidence. Call for a free, initial consultation in Dunfermline on 01383 730 466, in Kirkcaldy on 01592 640 680, in Alloa on 01259 725 922 or complete our online form.

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