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Nearly half of revenge porn cases are dropped by the victim

PUBLISHED: 15:37 19 July 2019

Norfolk police figures show a year-on-year rise in the number of revenge porn incidents since 2015. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Norfolk police figures show a year-on-year rise in the number of revenge porn incidents since 2015. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire

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Nearly 200 people have reported cases of revenge porn to Norfolk police since it was outlawed four years ago - but just a handful have made it to court.

Nearly half of all revenge porn cases reported to Norfolk police since 2015 were dropped by the victim. Picture: Ian BurtNearly half of all revenge porn cases reported to Norfolk police since 2015 were dropped by the victim. Picture: Ian Burt

Figures from Norfolk police reveal 194 people reported the crime since 2015 with numbers steadily increasing year-on-year.

The vast majority of the reported victims were female - 157 compared to 32 male, with five peoples' gender categorised as 'not recorded'.

Only 15 suspects - around 8pc of the total number of reports - were charged with sharing private sexual images, while nearly half of all cases (92) were dropped because the victim withdrew support for police action.

Detective Inspector Peter Wilson, from Norfolk police, said the force faced challenges prosecuting offenders.

"We need to ensure we have adequate evidence to achieve a realistic chance of a prosecution when this goes to the Crown Prosecution Service," he said. "This includes proving the image was disclosed with the intent of causing distress."

Speaking on the number of victims dropping cases, DI Wilson said: "Some victims do not want to support a prosecution because, for example, if an ex-partner posts an image on social media, they want the image taken down and the person responsible spoken to.

"They don't necessarily want to pursue this in court as they don't want anyone else to be aware of it."

In 2015, 29 people reported being victims of revenge porn, with the number rising to 34 in 2016, 42 in 2017 and 57 in 2018. So far this year there have been 32 offences recorded by police.

DI Wilson said the increase could be explained by more people being aware about revenge porn and feeling more able to report incidents to police.

He added victims were "more likely to report to the police as they understand we will deal with the matter in a sympathetic and non-judgemental manner".

The youngest victim was a 14-year-old girl who reported the crime in 2016 but police decided further investigation would not be in the public interest.

The oldest victim was a 57-year-old woman in 2018, which led to the offender being cautioned by police.

Reports of revenge porn are on the rise but only a few cases make it to court. Picture: PA WireReports of revenge porn are on the rise but only a few cases make it to court. Picture: PA Wire

In another 14 cases people told police they had private images of them shared without consent but police were unable to find a suspect in those cases.

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