Almost a third of 'revenge porn' cases dropped

Nearly three in 10 ‘revenge porn’ cases reported to Northumbria Police are dropped by victims despite a suspect being identified, new figures reveal.

By Katie Williams
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:56 pm
'Revenge porn' figures.
'Revenge porn' figures.

Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress – so-called "revenge porn" – became an offence in April 2015 and carries a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveal Northumbria Police had recorded 822 such crimes up to the end of last year – with 223 (27.1%) closed because the alleged victim did not support further police action – in line with data from 38 police forces responding to the request.

A further 42 (5.1%) with no clear suspect were also dropped by victims.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Refuge CEO Ruth Davison said: "It's very rare for threat or sharing of intimate images to happen in isolation without other forms of domestic abuse. Many victims will be under pressure from perpetrators not to support police action.”

She added that women's trust in the police is "at rock bottom" and not confident of reporting crimes.

Sophie Mortimer, manager of the Revenge Porn Helpline, said: "Although media outlets rarely name victims, the possibility of being outed in their local communities is too much and other barriers range from fear of being judged to mistrust in the police.”

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley, child protection lead at the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: “Police take the disclosure of private or intimate images very seriously.

"We recognise that going through the criminal justice system can be very stressful and are working with partners to ensure vicims have the confidence to report crimes and receive appropriate support."