Read the full article by Hayden Smith at Independent.co.uk

Revenge Pornography offenders who repeatedly re-post explicit material after it has been taken offline will face the toughest punishments under new sentencing guidelines.

Perpetrators who set up fake social media profiles or websites to amplify the embarrassment of their targets can also expect to receive the harshest penalties available.

For the first time, courts are being provided with instructions on dealing with men and women who humiliate ex-lovers, partners, spouses and others by uploading private sexual images and videos.

The offence of disclosing private sexual images without consent was introduced in 2015 and carries a maximum sentence of two years.

In 2016/17, there were 465 prosecutions over revenge porn allegations in England and Wales.

The section on disclosing private sexual images lists factors that would indicate higher culpability, therefore raising the possibility of a punishment at the higher end of the scale.

More serious cases could include those where there is evidence of conduct intended to maximise distress or humiliation, or “significant planning” such as setting up fake social media profiles to post the images, and inviting comment and contact which could result in abuse and sexualised contact from strangers.

The guideline also makes clear that revenge porn perpetrators should be dealt with more severely if they make “repeated efforts to keep images available for viewing”.

This factor was added as a result of feedback in a consultation held last year to reflect the trend from some offenders to re-post images online multiple times after websites take them down.

Harassment, stalking, controlling and coercive behaviour and threats to kill are also covered by the new guidance.

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