E-Quality campaign to tackle online revenge porn

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© Martin Hoscik / Shutterstock
Sophie Walker in the centre directly behind Sadiq Khan.

A campaign seeking to protect women online was officially launched on May 24. The ‘e-quality’ campaign will work to create new legislation that will target harmful and abusive online interactions and communication.

Specifically designed to address the issues of harassment and online revenge porn, this new campaign, launched by The Women’s Equality Party (WEP) is determined to help women seek compensation for any online harassment and for un-consensual sharing of sexually explicit images.

Sophie Walker, the leader of WEP, who also ran for Mayor of London in the most recent elections, said she was pleased to launch the campaign, and “take bold steps towards protecting women from violence online.”

The party is specifically calling for three legislations to be implemented and complied with; that existing revenge porn laws focus more on consent and introduce civil law, so victims can  seek compensation anonymously from the perpetrator, this would also induce website operators to remove explicit imagery; compulsory sex and relationship education in schools across England and Wales, a policy that was ruled out by British Education Secretary Nicky Morgan in February 2016; and to increase the number of  women working in the police force and technology industry.

The WEP will be publicising the campaign using the hash tag #CtrlAltDelete. The move follows a recent enquiry by the Women and Equalities Committee into sexual violence in British schools, which determined that young girls are being forced to publish or send sexually explicit images online, leading to harassment and blackmail.

A further Freedom of Information request from the BBC in April 2016 determined that even 11-year-old children were falling victim to revenge pornography, where sexual images of the individual are posted online without their consent.

Since revenge porn was criminalised in April 2015, the investigation found that only 11 per cent of suspects were charged in a total of 1,160 revenge porn reports. Furthermore, between 75-90 per cent of the victims of this type of crime are female.

The current law focuses on whether or not the perpetrator who shared the images intended to cause distress, however the WEP are calling for the legal emphasis to be shifted to whether or not the victim gave consent, hence adding gravity and a solid foundation to reason for persecution.

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