Italy criminalises revenge porn with prison sentences of up to six years

  04 April 2019    Read: 831
Italy criminalises revenge porn with prison sentences of up to six years

Revenge porn has become a criminal offence in Italy with perpetrators facing up to six years imprisonment or fines of up to €15,000 (£12,800).

Passed into law by the country's parliament, the “Red Code” bill, which aims to protect women from violence and stalking, will punish those sharing sexual images or videos of someone without consent.

Higher sentences will be given in those cases where material is shared by those who are or were married and those in a relationship.

Compromising images of disabled or pregnant women will also carry heavier punishments.

Campaigner Vittoria Gheno said the law has only been passed now because “revenge porn mainly affects women.”

“There is still a feminist fight to be had because society, in too many ways, is still patriarchal," she added.

Ms Gheno’s organisation, Insieme in Rete (Together on the Net), launched a petition alongside two other organisations calling for revenge porn to be criminalised five months ago. It gathered 120,000 signatures and gained the attention of Laura Boldrini, minister for digital social policy.

PHD student Silvia Semenzin who has researched revenge porn, said the campaign, which also raised awareness through social media and local events, was fundamental in getting politicians to take the issue seriously.

The "Red Code" bill was initially voted down last week as, political parties attempted to push forward their own bills on revenge porn, including the ruling Five Star Movement.

Following opposition party protests which saw MPs occupy government seats in parliament, MPs came to an agreement to criminalise revenge porn.

The mother of Tiziana Cantone, a victim of revenge porn who committed suicide in 2016, was present for the decision.

“I am very happy that #League and #FiveStar have recognised their mistake from last week and today voted in the House for an amendment to introduce revenge porn as a crime,” Ms Boldrini tweeted. “Fighting this horrible phenomenon is not a matter of political belonging but for civilization.”

Ms Gheno hopes that this is a starting point for further discussions into how to best protect victims of revenge porn.

“I think it needs to go further,” she said. “We need to reflect on how to look after victims, how to collaborate with social platforms and educate people digitally.”

 

The Independent


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