Northern Ireland to criminalise ‘cyber-flashing’

Northern Ireland to criminalise 'cyber-flashing'

A new statutory offence of “cyber-flashing” will be introduced in Northern Ireland under legislative amendments approved by MLAs yesterday.

The Northern Ireland Assembly agreed to amend the Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Bill to include the new offence, which will criminalise the sending of unsolicited pictures of genitals. A similar offence has existed in Scotland since 2010.

The amendment was originally proposed by Stormont’s justice committee, but developed further in conjunction with justice minister Naomi Long ahead of yesterday’s debate at further consideration stage.

Mrs Long said: “I congratulate the committee on tabling that important amendment to create the new offence of cyber-flashing and securing our full support for that.

“Unfortunately, cyber-flashing seems to have become an increasingly prevalent form of behaviour, where the victim is the recipient of unsolicited images of sexual activity or genitalia.

“As with other forms of intimate image abuse, even though the victim is not the subject of the image, that abhorrent behaviour can make victims feel humiliated, violated, frightened and upset.”

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