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Back in July, the Law Commission of England and Wales proposed recommendations to strengthen the law to protect victims of intimate image abuse and to make it easier to prosecute those who take or share intimate images without consent.

Effective last month, several changes to the law were announced to broaden the scope of the current intimate image offences, so that more perpetrators will face prosecution and potentially time in jail.

The government will take forward several of the Law Commission’s recommendations to ensure legislation keeps pace with technology and will replace the current legislation with new offences.

The amendment to the Online Safety Bill will better protect victims of intimate image abuse and other abusive behaviour such as the installation and use of hidden cameras to record images of people without their consent.

Additional laws will include outlawing ‘downblousing’- when photos are taken down a woman’s top without their consent – and criminalising ‘deepfakes’ for the first time – explicit images of videos which are manipulated to look like someone else without their consent.

Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said: “Refuge welcomes these reforms and is pleased to see progress in tackling abuse perpetrated via technology. As the only frontline service with a specialist tech abuse team, Refuge is uniquely placed to support survivors who experience this form of abuse.”

Figures have shown that one in 14 adults across England and Wales has been threatened with the release of intimate images and more than 28,000 reports of disclosing private sexual images without consent were recorded by the police between April 2015 and December 2021.


Tackling the rise of these emerging forms of abuse is hugely important in order to protect victims and these laws will make a positive difference in prosecuting people in such cases. We welcome these laws, and we are hoping for a continuation of modernising laws that will protect individuals from abuse.  

Please get in touch with DMA Law Link for any legal questions.