The UK is set to make “cyberflashing” a new criminal offense. The law is aimed at predators who send unsolicited sexual images online. Perpetrators will face up to two years behind bars under new laws.
The practice typically involves offenders sending an unsolicited sexual image to people via social media or dating apps, but can also be over data sharing services such as Bluetooth and Airdrop. In some instances, a preview of the photo can appear on a person’s device – meaning that even if the transfer is rejected victims are forced into seeing the image, detailed the govt press release.
Ministers confirmed that laws banning this behaviour will be included in the UK Government’s landmark Online Safety Bill alongside wide-ranging reforms to keep people safe on the internet.
The new offence will ensure cyberflashing is captured clearly by the criminal law – giving the police and Crown Prosecution Service greater ability to bring more perpetrators to justice. It follows similar recent action to criminalise upskirting and breastfeeding voyeurism with the Government determined to protect people, particularly women and girls, from these emerging crimes.
Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said:
Protecting women and girls is my top priority which is why we’re keeping sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer, giving domestic abuse victims more time to report assaults and boosting funding for support services to £185m per year.