UK

Revenge porn helpline reveals surge in cases since lockdown

The UK's revenge porn helpline has dealt with more cases so far this year than it did for the whole of 2019 as calls remain high since the coronavirus lockdown.

Around 2,050 reports of so-called revenge porn had been made to the government-funded helpline as of Monday – meaning there has been a 22% rise on the 1,685 reported cases last year.

The helpline, which is run by the charity SWGfL, saw cases nearly double in April this year compared to April 2019 – from 122 to 242 – meaning 2020 is its busiest year on record.

Sextortion cases – which involves the practice of extorting money or sexual favours from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity – have also increased since lockdown and now make up almost a fifth (18%) of the total cases dealt with by the helpline.

Before lockdown, they accounted for 13% of the total.

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Helpline manager Sophie Mortimer attributes the sustained rise in reports to long-term behaviour triggered by the lockdown.

She said: "It's interesting it hasn't dropped and for me, that really does confirm we were only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

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"I think it did show that there's a lot more going on behind closed doors, and the tighter those doors are closed, the more intense some of that behaviour has become, and maybe brought things to a head that otherwise would have taken a lot longer or might have taken a different shape."

While advisers believed the spike in reports may settle, cases have remained high through to August despite the lockdown easing.

The helpline dealt with 285 cases last month – a 63% increase on the 175 cases in August 2019. So far this year, it has helped remove 22,515 images, accounting for 94% of the 23,913 reported by victRead More – Source