In April 2015, the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 created a new criminal offence of Revenge Pornography, making it a criminal offence to disclose private sexual photographs and films without the consent of an individual who appears in them and with the intent to cause that individual distress. The victim may have consented to the image creation but will not have consented to it being made public. The main point is that the perpetrator must intend to cause distress to the specific victim.
A typical case of revenge pornography would involve an ex-partner uploading an intimate image of the victim to the Internet, which would include social networking sites or sending it to friends and family via text message. It is carried out with the intention of causing distress, humiliation and embarrassment to the victim.
The new offence will cover photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be sent to the public.
There is no law against receiving images. The problem arises if you share the image. The best way to deal with this is to delete the image as soon as you receive it and do not forward as this would potentially constitute a criminal offence.
It is not an offence to disclose the photograph or film to the individual who appears in the photograph or film.
Even if you have been charged with an offence under this new legislation it does not automatically mean that you are guilty. There are a number of defences that can be raised.
The main question will be, can I go to prison? Well, the answer is yes. Revenge porn is an offence which can either be dealt with in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. If your case is dealt with in the Magistrates Court then the maximum sentence that you could receive is a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or a fine (or both). If your case is dealt with by the Crown Court then you could receive a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine (or both).