Revenge porn helpline launches

08/02/15

Girlfriend and boyfriend

A revenge porn helpline's been launched to give victims legal advice and information on how to get images taken down.

The idea behind it is to encourage victims to come forward and talk about what's happening confidentially.

Folami Prehaye, the founder of a revenge porn support website (who was a victim herself) says something like this would have helped her at the time.

"I felt isolated and embarrassed by what had happened to me," she explains.

"If there had been a helpline around at least I could have talked to someone in confidence."

Revenge porn is when people upload explicit photos and videos of their ex-partners online without their consent.

Last year, charities - as well as one of the UK's leading online support groups - told Newsbeat that they're dealing with a rise in complaints about it.

The National Stalking Helpline, Women's Aid and the UK Safer Internet Centre all say the problem's become more common.

Used for blackmail

Figures obtained by the Press Association in September 2014 showed girls as young as 11 had been victims of revenge porn.

The majority of the perpetrators were male, with their subjects usually being young females.

Some shared images - sometimes recorded during the relationship - with the victims' family and friends, while others used the footage to blackmail them.

"I set up my website to offer support to victims who made contact with me, and to encourage other women to come forward," says Folami Prehaye.

"Now this helpline will help everyone that needs support and advice."

Girlfriend and boyfriend

Later this year, England and Wales' new Criminal Justice and Courts Bill will make "the distribution of a private sexual image of someone without their consent and with the intention of causing them distress" illegal.

This will include images posted to social networks, as well as "offline" sharing via text messages.

Those convicted will face a maximum two-year jail sentence.

Equalities minister Nicky Morgan says: "I want to ensure that anyone who finds that they have had images of themselves shared without their consent has the support and advice that they need."

The helpline is run by the South West Grid for Learning charity on 0845 6000 459.

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter, BBCNewsbeat on Instagram and Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube