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Almost 200 Suspected Victims Of Revenge Porn In Last Six Months

Alleged victims as young as 12 have come forward to the police since sharing an explicit image of someone without their consent became a crime in England and Wales.

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New data shows that in the last six months, 175 people, some as young as 12, have told police in England and Wales that they are the victims of revenge porn.

Eighteen different police forces have recorded alleged revenge porn incidents, whereby an explicit image of someone is shared without their consent, The Guardian reported.

The figures don't include data from the Metropolitan police, the country's largest force, or West Midlands police, so the real number is undoubtedly higher.

Sarah Green, director of the campaign group End Violence Against Women, told The Guardian: "This huge increase in recording of 'revenge pornography' cases by the police is striking. We have to ask why this behaviour is apparently widespread. It is not casual – it is calculated behaviour intended to harm.

"All experts in abusive behaviour agree that we must make sex and relationships education compulsory in all our schools, so that young people get the chance to talk about consent and respect, and to have excuses for abusive behaviour aired and challenged."

Revenge porn became illegal in February after campaigners argued that the previous legislation did nothing to protect victims. The new law carries a maximum jail sentence of two years.

Last week a 23-year-old transgender man was sentenced for posting "extremely intimate" pictures of his ex-girlfriend after she "made fun" of his plans to have sex reassignment surgery.

Jesse Hawthorn from Caerphilly was given a 16-week jail term, suspended for a year, at Newport magistrates' court. He had admitted disclosing a private sexual photo with intent to cause distress.

Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Patrick Smith at patrick.smith@buzzfeed.com.

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