THREATS TO SHARE INTIMATE IMAGES
New amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill will be presented this week including widening the scope of the so-called “revenge porn” offence to include threats to share intimate images with the intention to cause distress. Over 900 convictions for “revenge porn” have been secured since it was outlawed in 2015 but this amendment, if enacted, will provide recourse for the 1 in 7 young women affected by such threats, the majority of which, according to the charity Refuge, come from current or former partners.
The Law Commission has published a consultation paper and is inviting responses from 26 February 2021 to 27 May 2021. It acknowledges that children are involved, both as perpetrators and victims, in intimate image abuse and the resulting harms can be both serious and long-lasting. The paper suggests that (as with the existing law) it would not be appropriate to exempt children from liability although it recognises the need for a nuanced approach for dealing with children in the criminal justice system.
CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING
Children and young people’s mental health services will be significantly expanded thanks to funding of £79 million. The announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care recognises that young people have been uniquely affected by the pandemic. It expects around 3 million children will be supported as the number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges grows from 59 to 400 by April 2023. An expansion of access to NHS specialist eating disorder services aims to provide rapid contact and treatment and to increase access to an extra 2,000 children and young people.
INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT NEWS
Instagram has introduced a system to prioritise expert advice on results in response to eating-disorder related searches. These include new resources related to body image issues including links to local support hotlines such as BEAT in the UK. These resources will also be triggered to appear if someone tries to share eating-disorder content or if a friend is concerned and seeks to offer support.
Snapchat has introduced new safety resources on its Discover Channel, including a series of short videos on topics such as keeping accounts safe, bullying and reporting illegal activity. They will be released over the coming months.
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