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AUDIO: Revenge porn victim calls for right to anonymity

AUDIO: Revenge porn victim calls for right to anonymity

Published at 9:30am 15th December 2015. (Updated at 2:40pm 15th December 2015)

North Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan has joined forces with revenge porn victim Keeley Richards-Shaw to call for an urgent change in the law.

Victims of revenge porn currently have no right to anonymity, unlike victims of other sexual assaults.

A new campaign is hoping to tackle the legal loophole and ensure that better protection is put in place for people who have experienced this type of crime.

Keeley's story:

Teaching assistant and mother-of-one Keeley, 31, was photographed by her ex-boyfriend Brewer, 30, without her knowledge.

The two had been childhood sweethearts, but when Keeley broke off their relationship, he shared photos of her with his new partner and had other photos of her stored on his laptop.

Keeley found out about the photos after Brewer turned up at her home asking to be let in.

His new girlfriend arrived and later showed Keeley the photos Brewer had sent her.

Keeley immediately reported the matter to police who pressed charges against Brewer, leading to him becoming the first person in England to be sentenced for revenge porn.

He was given a 13-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and pay an £80 surcharge, a £180 court charge and £85 costs.

The presiding magistrate described his crime as "an unforgiveable breach of trust".

"I was totally sickened that he would take photos of me like that without me knowing and, even worse, share them with someone else," said Keeley.

"It's horrendous that a person I'd known since childhood and said he loved me to bits would do something so nasty and humiliating.

"I lived in fear that he would post them online for everyone to see. I felt abused and humiliated."

But while Keeley's local paper, the Scarborough News, kept its promise to her not to name her in its coverage of the court case, the national media not only published her name but her photograph too, taken from her Facebook page.

"What seemed really unfair was that the newspapers went to some lengths to carry a clear photo of me, while the photo of Alec didn't even show his face," said Keeley.

"I've been recognised by taxi drivers and got it into my head that everyone knew about it - which is the opposite of what I would want.

"I would never have agreed to have those photographs taken. But even though I didn't do anything wrong, I was left feeling upset and ashamed over the whole thing."

The two women have jointly written to Justice Secretary Michael Gove and the chair of the Justice Select Committee, Bob Neill, requesting meetings to discuss the issue.

They have also launched an online petition 'Change the Law: No More Naming of Revenge Porn Victims' which can be accessed at www.nomorenaming.com

Julia Mulligan said: "It's wrong that victims of this very personal and distressing crime are being violated all over again by their stories being played out online and in the media.

"Keeley has lived through this devastating experience and knows better than anyone the pain it can cause.

"I'm deeply impressed by her bravery in coming forward to talk publicly about her experiences and I am pleased to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with her in calling on the Government to introduce measures that protect victims' anonymity."