Bad breakup behaviour: Julian Hawkhead on BBC Radio York

Relationships|February 13th 2015

As a family lawyer, I have encountered all kinds of reactions to the end of a relationship. Some people will react very calmly and rationally, whereas others will not.

It’s not all that surprising, really. A breakup or a divorce can have a huge emotional impact on someone and it is not always easy to control feelings of hurt and rejection. However, there can sometimes come a point when they may lose control and lash out. This can be as innocuous as cutting up someone’s ties or as extreme as murder.

Recently, there has been a disturbing rise in the number of people lashing out in a different way. Some jilted partners have uploaded intimate, sexual photos or videos taken of their ex to the internet in order to humiliate them. The phenomenon has been dubbed ‘revenge porn’.

In order to combat this harmful practice, the government introduced legislation which makes it a specific criminal offense. The new law was part of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which received Royal Assent yesterday.

I was invited to discuss the new law with guest host Stuart Ellis on BBC Radio York last night. I said that although it was possible to prosecute someone for uploading intimate content without consent under existing law, I completely agree that making it a specific offence is necessary to send out a message that this sort of behaviour is illegal.

Making it illegal will discourage those who may feel betrayed and want revenge from posting such material. The ease with which people can take a photograph and then upload it means such discouragement is absolutely the right way to go.

You can listen to the full conversation here. My segment begins at 49:00.

Photo by Johan Larsson via Flickr

Julian is Stowe Family Law’s Senior Partner and is based in our Leeds office.

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  1. Pete says:

    Being the father of two girls I totally agree that this sort of thing should be made illegal but having said that, I’ve been through the divorce system and having had first hand experience of how one sided it is, I can see how someone might resort to this sort of revenge .
    Perhaps if people in family law started treating people who walk through the door as clients instead of pound signs and worked for a fairer system then this may also reduce this need for revenge.

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