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Image-based abuse ‘set to continue without sanction’

Creating and sharing nude pictures or videos without consent, often used to coerce someone, is likely to continue with relative impunity until social and legal expectations ensure possessors or distributors of the images demonstrate they have permission to use them, say researchers.

“Many of the people, mostly women and girls, in the sample who had been victims of image-based abuse felt aggrieved that their images had been used in a way they had not intended or consented to,” the Revealing Reality research agency says in the conclusions to its study entitled Without Consent.

“It appears from this research that the person who is the subject of a nude image is expected to exert their rights over those images; to complain, ask for images to be deleted, and even to potentially comply with a blackmail request to avoid their nudes being leaked.”

The agency also said: “Some of the perpetrators of this behaviour … did not appear to worry about the consequences of their actions.”

Among the findings was that image-based abuse is rarely considered domestic abuse, such as “screenshotting” within relationships with no other apparent form of abuse occurring.

The research findings are based on interviews with 37 people aged between 16 and 30 about the role nude image sharing played in their relationships and their experiences of image-based abuse.

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