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Revenge porn occurs, and is illegal, when a person publishes/ shares/ discloses a private sexual photograph or film, without the consent of the person who appears in the photograph or film, intending to cause that person distress. It is not enough that the person appearing in the photograph or film is distressed, as there must be an intention to cause that person distress, hence the offence being referred to as revenge porn. It is not an offence if the photograph or film is shown only to the person who appears in the photograph or film. It does not have to be published on the internet, it can be sent via text message or shown in person.

There are some defences to this offence -
1. That the material was disclosed as journalistic material and it was in the public interest to do so.
2. That the material had been previously disclosed for money (for example someone selling a sex tape of themselves to a newspaper) and that there was no reason to believe that the person appearing in the image or video had not consented to that disclosure.

3. That the disclosure was necessary to prevent, detect or investigate crime.

A person found guilty of this offence may face a fine or even imprisonment. If you believe that you have been the victim of revenge porn then contact the police by dialling 101. A victim of revenge porn can also get advice from the revenge porn helpline, see link in related information. Also in related information are links to the 'Help for Victims' website and a Youtube guide to the website.

For circumstances that do not fit the above see Q697 for information.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.