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Image-based Abuse

Volume 698: debated on Tuesday 29 June 2021

What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation in protecting victims from image-based abuse. (901925)

We recognise and share public concern over abuses of new technology to harm victims, and we are taking action. Today, new provisions on threatening to share private sexual images come into force, and we are going further. We have asked the Law Commission to review the law on image abuse to ensure that victims are properly protected. The commission will publish recommendations in spring next year, and we will consider them very carefully.

My constituent Helen Mort had the appalling experience of finding out that someone unknown to her had taken ordinary images from her social media and superimposed them on violent and extreme pornography. These were not intimate images, but they were used to create deepfakes. When she went to the police, she was told that there was no crime to investigate as the original images were not private. The Law Commission’s review, to which the Minister refers, proposes extending the criminalisation of sharing intimate images to include deepfakes. Will the Minister ensure that the Government respond positively and quickly to those proposals so that people like Helen are protected in the future?

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that harrowing case. He is absolutely right to do so. We recognise that the law needs to keep pace with those who would use technology to perpetrate dreadful abuse. We have asked the Law Commission to act, as he indicated. It is doing so at pace, and we will be looking very carefully with a view to extending the law where it is appropriate to do so.