In the run up to Safer Internet Day (Tuesday 10th February), the government have decided to take action to help those caught up in the growing issue of revenge porn. Below is the press release issued by Nicky Morgan (Secretary of State for Education and Women and Equalities Minister).

Press release on revenge porn helpline:

Nicky MorganWomen and Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan today launched a helpline to support victims of ‘revenge porn’.

This is the latest in a series of measures taken by the government to tackle the growing problem of people sharing intimate images online as a way of seeking revenge or ridiculing individuals.

The specialist helpline, run by South West Grid for Learning Trust , will provide callers with information on legal help available and their right to have the images removed from websites.

The helpline will liaise with law enforcement and media companies to remove content where possible, and offer details of free legal advice. They will also point individuals to additional support services, such as Women’s Aid, Stalking helpline or Relate if needed.

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said:
“I want to ensure that anyone who finds that they have had images of themselves shared without their consent has the support and advice that they need. This helpline will provide essential free legal advice on how to have pictures removed from the internet.

“Circulating intimate photos of someone without their consent is never acceptable, and we need to educate people to the dangers of sending intimate images, and to the hurt that sharing them causes.”

Folami Prehaye, founder of revenge porn support website said:
“As a victim I felt isolated and felt embarrassed by what had happened to me. If there was a helpline around at the time of my crime at least I could have talked to someone in confidence about how I was feeling, and how coming forward has affected my confidence.

“I set up my website to offer support to victims who made contact with me, and to encourage other women to come forward to raise their concerns and speak up about this crime. Now this helpline will help everyone that needs support and advice.”

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Victims told us they wanted more to be done to tackle revenge porn – and we listened.

“We have changed the law to make it clear that people who maliciously distribute intimate pictures of their former partners without their consent face a prison sentence.

"It is crucial that victims have the confidence to report this kind of disgusting behaviour and the new offence will make sure perpetrators are properly punished."

Safer Internet DayThis announcement comes ahead of Safer Internet Day (10th February) which aims to promote safer and more responsible use of technology, especially amongst children and young people.

This announcement follows a call from Nicky Morgan for parents to check they know how to help keep their children safe online, and £500,000 of funding for the Safer Internet Centre, to ensure schools and teachers are also equipped to teach our young people about how to be safe online.

The government is introducing a specific offence of revenge pornography, covering the distribution of a private sexual image of someone without their consent and with the intent to cause distress. Those convicted will face a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

The phone number for the helpline is: 0845 6000 459

Join the discussion around the revenge porn helpline.

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Read our education Q&A with Nicky Morgan here.