Insights Government to criminalise “down-blousing” and sharing of intimate images without consent


The Government has announced that it will be amending the Online Safety Bill so that those who share “deepfakes” (explicit images or videos which have been manipulated to look like someone without their consent) will be specifically criminalised.

The Government will also bring forward a package of additional laws to tackle a range of abusive behaviour including the installation of equipment, such as hidden cameras, to take or record images of someone without their consent. These will cover so-called “down-blousing” (where photos are taken down a woman’s top without consent) allowing police and prosecutors to pursue such cases more effectively.

The announcement builds on the recommendations from the Law Commission to introduce reforms to the laws covering the abuse of images. The amendment will broaden the scope of current intimate image offences, so that more perpetrators will face prosecution and potentially time in jail.

The changes include:

  • repealing and replacing current legislation with new offences to simplify the law and make it easier to prosecute cases, including a new base offence of sharing an intimate image without consent and two more serious offences based on intent to cause humiliation, alarm, or distress and for obtaining sexual gratification;
  • the creation of two specific offences for: (i) threatening to share; and (ii) installing equipment to enable images to be taken; and
  • criminalising the non-consensual sharing of manufactured intimate images (i.e. “deepfakes”).

The Government will bring forward the wider package of changes as soon as parliamentary time allows and will announce further details in due course. To read the Government’s press release in full, click here.