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Figures Released For Revenge Porn Prosecutions In The UK

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More than 200 people have been prosecuted under a revenge porn law that came into force last year.

Data from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on crimes against women, in the annual Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) report, show that 206 people were prosecuted for "disclosing private sexual images without consent".

Revenge porn became a crime in England and Wales in April 2015. It also became a crime in Northern Ireland in February this year and in Scotland in April.

The report also shows rape, domestic abuse and sex offences account for nearly a fifth (18.6%) of the CPS's total caseload, and that prosecutions and convictions for these crimes have reached record levels.

The use of social media to commit crimes was identified as a growing trend. These include revenge porn and controlling or coercive behaviour, which became a crime in December 2015.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the increased prosecution and conviction rates for sexual offences were a result of changes in the way they are prosecuted. There has been an increase in resources and prosecutor training, she said.

However, Saunders added that "there is still more to be done" to ensure victims "receive the service they deserve".

"We will continue to build on our achievements, implementing changes from the lessons we have learned and working with our partners to ensure an even better service for the victims of these crimes and our society as a whole," she said.

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said the rise in prosecutions was positive, but added: "The majority of women and girls subject to these crimes do not report them to the police, and the specialist services which support them are fighting for survival," the BBC reported.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, also welcomed the report, saying the increased prosecution and conviction rate was because, "survivors of domestic abuse are starting to have more confidence in the criminal justice system."

But she acknowledged there is room for improvement, "particularly in understanding the nature and impact of coercive control."

Rebecca Hitchin from Rape Crisis said some victims of sexual offences may still fear a backlash from family and friends, and so do not come forward. She said victims may also be discouraged by the complex and drawn-out prosecution process.
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