Cyberflashing

Does the law on cyberflashing need reform?

Cyberflashing – where someone sends a sexual image, usually a penis, to another without their consent – is not currently a criminal offence in England & Wales. It’s often not taken seriously, yet it’s the online version of physical flashing in the street, and it’s a growing problem. Many women experience cyberflashing as a gross violation and intrusion, often inducing real and paralysing fear. Urgent action is therefore needed to make clear that this conduct is harmful and serious, with criminalisation representing an important first step towards challenging these behaviours. This is the key question which is the focus of my current work with Kelly Johnson.

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Public debate and calls for reform are increasing. I have been pleased to contribute to some of these discussions, including reports from the Reuters Foundation – Gross and shocking’: Women call for new laws to stop cyber-flashing – the Independent The tip of the iceberg’: Cyber-flashing on trains ‘largely unreported’ despite huge rise in incidents and Huffington Post: Flashing And Flashing Can Be Equally Harmful.

You can watch this video from the Reuters Foundation and hear from those who have experienced cyberflashing and why we need action:

Currently, I’m working with Kelly Johnson to develop comprehensive proposals for law and policy reform in this area. We are recommending a specific law to criminalise cyberflashing and you can read about our suggestions in our recent blog.

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