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UK’s revenge porn helpline: there is a surge in cases during lockdown

UK's revenge porn helpline reveals surge in cases: 2020 is the busiest year on record.

revenge porn helpline
revenge porn helpline, surge in cases

The UK’s revenge porn helpline has handled with more cases this year than during the whole of 2019. Until Monday, some 2 050 reports had been made to the Government-funded helpline. It is the same with a 22% rise on the 1 685 reports over 2019 and makes 2020 is the busiest year on record.

UK’s revenge porn helpline

The helpline, run by the charity SWGfL, part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, saw cases almost double in April compared to the same month the previous year, it is from 122 to 242.

From April to the end of August, 1 387 reports were made, the equivalent of nine every day. Last month, the helpline dealt with 285 cases, a 63% increase on the 175 dealt with in August 2019. The sharing of private or sexual images or videos of a person without their consent became an offence in England and Wales in April 2015.

Refuge recent research found one in seven young women have received threats that their intimate photos will be shared without their consent, suggesting that this is a common form of abuse. Around two-thirds of cases reported to the helpline involve women. It has removed 22 515 images this year or equal to 94% of the 23 913 reported by victims. The experts predict the UK total could rise to 2 700 reports by the end of the year or equal to 60% higher than the 2019 total.

Revenge porn and Covid lockdown

Helpline manager, Sophie Mortimer, believes that the sustained rise is evidence of a long-term behaviour triggered by the lockdown, and greater awareness of the crime and support. Sextortion cases have also risen since lockdown enforced, and makeup almost a fifth (18%) of the total cases dealt with by the helpline.

Before the lockdown, they accounted for 13% of the total. While around three-quarters of the 363 sextortion cases involved male victims this year, the figures suggest a greater number of women are being exploited.

David Wright, director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said: « What we are seeing here, however, suggests something more long-term has happened which could mean we will be busier than ever before. It’s worrying to think this could be the new normal ».

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