Police and Crime Commissioner backs Ministry of Justice ‘Be Aware B4 You Share’ Campaign (5 Mar 2015)

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner is backing a national campaign to raise awareness that revenge porn is now a criminal offence.

Under new legislation, revenge porn, which is the sharing private sexually related materials with intent to cause distress, will soon be easier to prosecute. Those found guilty can be sentenced for up to two years in prison and fined.

The offence applies both online and offline and to images which are shared electronically or in a more traditional way, including the uploading of images on the internet, sharing by text and e-mail, or showing someone a physical or electronic image.

The Be Aware B4 You Share campaign is being run by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with Women's Aid, the UK Safer Internet Centre and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. It seeks to deter potential perpetrators by highlighting that revenge porn is a crime that will be prosecuted. It also aims to support victims by directing them to the new helpline where they can receive information on the legal help available and their right to have intimate images removed from websites.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner said "I am pleased with the recent changes to legislation and want to do all I can to support this campaign which is even more relevant in the cyber-crime week of action.

"The effects of this crime on both the victim and the perpetrator can be massively wide reaching and by raising awareness, I hope that I can make potential offenders stop and think twice about the consequences of their actions.

"The campaign also highlights support for victims, which is especially important with this kind of crime which tends to make people feel isolated, embarrassed and helpless. The support service is free and can be initiated anonymously.

"Victims can also use my 'Help for Victims' website, www.helpforvictims.co.uk, which has pages from over 400 local supporting organisations, who can help with concerns with trained advisers on hand to answer questions. There is also information for victims and witnesses to self refer to local organisations who can provide particular specialist victim and witness services beyond the website.

"I previously wrote to Secretary of State, Chris Grayling to highlight my concerns over cyber-crime, specifically revenge porn and online 'trolling'.

"One of the many commitments I made within my Police and Crime Plan around cyber-crime was to call for a national review of the laws around prosecution of those who target others via social media.  I welcome the steps the political parties have taken to begin to address these issues through amendments to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. I also support any measures that will give the police more time to collect enough evidence to enable successful prosecutions to be brought.

"I cannot highlight strongly enough the need for any victims of revenge porn to contact the relevant authorities as soon as possible so that offenders can be brought to justice and action taken to remove the material."

More information on the campaign can be found on the official campaign page https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/revenge-porn-be-aware-b4-you-share

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