Belfast Telegraph

'Revenge porn' legislation faces scrutiny to see why it can't help victims like Una

By Amanda Ferguson

Stormont is scrutinising the legislation to deal with 'revenge porn' to see if it is strong enough.

Its examination of the issue has been brought into the spotlight after yesterday's Belfast Telegraph story in which a young woman told of her ordeal at the hands of an ex-boyfriend who submitted a secretly-filmed sex tape featuring her to a pornography website.

Revenge porn – where explicit images are shared on the internet without consent – is currently not a criminal offence.

Trainee accountant Una Crossen (22), from west Belfast, told the Telegraph of the emotional impact such a betrayal causes, and of her shock that her 26-year-old ex-boyfriend Patrick Brendan Campbell, from north Belfast, could not be arrested.

She subsequently undertook a long legal battle to ensure explicit material of her was not circulated online.

The 22-year-old decided to come forward with her story after a 'revenge porn' victim in England went public last month in an effort to help other women in a similar position.

Last month, a committee of UK peers said clarification was needed on the law around revenge porn and when it could lead to a prosecution.

A change to the law in Northern Ireland falls under the remit of Justice Minister David Ford.

A spokesman said: "The Department of Justice is considering whether the current law is adequate to deal with the problem of 'revenge porn'.

"It is doing so in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales, which is also considering the adequacy of the current law.

"Any change to the criminal law is a devolved matter for the Justice Minister David Ford and would have to be agreed by the Northern Ireland Assembly."

Una Crossen's long battle for dignity culminated on July 28 this year when a Belfast court arranged an undertaking Una and Mr Campbell agreed upon, and he was ordered to pay her legal costs.

The court judgment said: "The defendant hereby undertakes not to publish or reproduce any material or videos which would interfere with the plaintiff's right to privacy, particularly any materials in whatever form of an explicit nature."

Ms Crossen did not consent to being filmed but many young people do share explicit pictures of themselves with partners and agree to be filmed engaging in sexual activity.

Pam Hunter, chief executive of leading sexual abuse charity Nexus NI, warned of the dangers of this.

"People need to think of the future, as some of the best of relationships split up and then you are left with the images in the hand of someone who is estranged to you and doesn't have your best interests at heart," she said.

"The trauma of this form of abuse is aggravated by the thought of more people viewing it.

"You can stop the images on the websites you know about, but it could have spread to other sites you don't know about and that ambiguity seems to add to the trauma of the abuse."

Sex tape revenge porn hell at hands of jilted ex-boyfriend 

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