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08th Feb 2022

Cyber flashers could now face time behind bars and added to the sex offenders register

Kieran Galpin


A study found that 75% of young girls had been sent unsolicited nude pictures

Cyber flashing, the sending of unsolicited nude pictures, is to become a crime, and people could face jail time for it.

Ministers are said to be considering making cyber flashing a crime as part of the Online Harms Bill currently before parliament. However, The Times suggests that the government will instead use the Sexual Offences Act as they will struggle to get the online bill passed this year.

Sky News suggests that the government wants to implement the legislation as soon as possible. Once passed, the act will be criminalised in line with similar offences, like upskirting, which currently carries a sentence of up to two years. It also means that cyber flashers could be added to the sex offenders register.

Last month, justice minister Victoria Atkins told MPs that the government “absolutely supports” cyber flashing being criminalised.

She continued: “We are carefully considering an offence along the lines of that proposed by the Law Commission.

“My honourable friend the member for Brecon and Radnorshire asked whether the Online Safety Bill might be the vehicle through which that law was brought about.

“We are actively looking at that, but we very much understand the need for speed and, indeed, the wish of women and girls around the country for the issue to be dealt with quickly and effectively.”

Research from UCL indicates that 75.8 per cent of girls aged 12-18 had been sent unsolicited “d**k pics” in the past. The 2019 survey also found that 70 per cent of girls had been asked to send nudes in “trades”.

Presenter Jess Davies recently tweeted about the act for Sexual Violence week.

She said: “This week is Sexual Violence Awareness Week. Sexual violence is evolving and image-based sexual abuse is on the rise. From cyber flashing and image leaks to revenge porn and online harassment- women and girls deserve to feel empowered in the physical and the digital space.”

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