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Revenge porn: a parent's guide

Ministry of Justice's Revenge porn campaign

Young people can be both the victim and perpetrator of revenge porn. So what is it, and how can parents protect their children?

What is revenge porn?

The Crown Prosecution Service defines revenge porn as 'typically sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual and is usually uploaded by ex-partners.'

Sometimes pictures are sent to family members, or the victim's name, address or email is published, occasionally with the suggestion that she (it's usually a she) is a sex worker. The aim is to embarrass, shame and cause distress.

It has become part of the online porn industry with UK searches for the term rocketing since 2012.

Revenge porn sites suggest the victims are to blame and imply that their appearance on the site is their own fault.

Victims' organisations say that revenge porn is rarely an isolated incident: it is an attempt to control and manipulate by people who are probably emotionally and perhaps physically controlling as well. It is often carried out by someone the victim has recently broken up with and so they face dealing with the realisation that they have been betrayed by someone they previously trusted, alongside the aftermath of having their private images posted online.

How to talk to your child about revenge porn

  • Open a conversation about whether it's ever right to share images without permission. 
  • Ask them to consider the wisdom of recording sexually explicit images in the first place.
  • Remind them that sharing images of under-18s is illegal.
  • Emphasize the importance of being careful when sharing images – even ones that aren’t sexual.
  • Talk about how horrible it is to pass on embarrassing or upsetting pictures of someone else without their permission. 
  • Remind them where to report inappropriate or unwanted content that they see online.
  • Stress that the victim is not to blame. 
  • Talk about why some people want to control others and what respectful relationships look like.
  • Encourage them to tell you if they are ever sent sexual images online so they can be reported to the platform, such as a social media app, they were went on.

Reporting revenge porn

You can report revenge porn, whether it's been shared by a vengeful ex-partner or a malicious third party who's managed to get hold of the image, on the dedicated helpline:

The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA-CEOP.

Updated: ​May 2018

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