QMU students and Mishcon to offer free advice to revenge porn victims

Queen Mary University of London and Mishcon de Reya will offer free legal advice to victims of revenge porn, in an effort to provide much needed information and support on the emergent crime.

Victims will be advised by students under the supervision of Mishcon reputation management lawyers.

QMU Legal Advice Centre director Julie Pinborough called revenge porn a “disturbing and rapidly growing phenomenon” and added: “While the alleged number of offences – 149 – is relatively small, we know that many victims never come forward. Stigma is definitely an issue; people often feel embarrassed, afraid and powerless.”

Victims can currently bring legal action against alleged perpetrators via criminal or civil means, but both routes include major hurdles. Outdated criminal laws relating to revenge porn are currently being reformed in response to the proliferation of the crime while bringing a civil claim requires significant financial outlay.

Pinborough added: “Even when [civil claims are] successful, it’s difficult to quantify an appropriate award of damages. How much for your reputation, your privacy, and your well-being?”

“Our criminal law system is currently playing ‘catch-up’ in an effort to deal with this relatively new problem. As it stands, prosecutors must rely on legislation that is either outdated or designed for another purpose.”

Revenge porn will be included in the new Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, and will carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison.