What is Cyberflashing in UK Law

27th June 2024
Andy Hobdell headshot

Andy Hobdell

Partner

Facing accusations of cyberflashing can be a distressing experience, raising concerns about legal consequences and personal reputation. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s essential to understand your rights and seek proper legal guidance. 

At Lawtons, we specialise in providing support and representation to individuals accused of cyberflashing. Our experienced and expert team of sexual offence solicitors is dedicated to protecting your interests and ensuring fair treatment throughout the legal process. Whether you’re innocent or facing allegations that are admitted, we’re here to offer expert non-judgmental advice and advocacy tailored to your specific needs. 

What is cyberflashing?

Cyberflashing refers to the unsolicited sending of explicit images or videos of a sexual nature to individuals via digital communication channels such as text messages, social media platforms, or messaging apps. This behaviour often occurs without the recipient’s consent, causing distress, discomfort, and feelings of violation. 

Cyberflashing can have serious psychological and emotional impacts on victims, and it is considered a form of online sexual harassment or abuse. As technology continues to evolve, it’s essential to raise awareness about cyberflashing and take measures to prevent and combat this invasive and harmful behaviour.

How is cyberflashing different from indecent exposure?

Cyberflashing and indecent exposure are both forms of unwanted exposure to explicit sexual content, but they differ in the way they are carried out and the medium through which they occur.

Indecent exposure typically involves the deliberate exposure of one’s genitals or intimate body parts in public spaces, such as flashing someone on the street or in a public park. It often occurs in physical, real-world settings where the perpetrator is physically present and can be identified.

On the other hand, cyberflashing involves the sending of explicit images or videos of a sexual nature through digital communication channels, such as text messages, social media platforms, or messaging apps. 

Cyberflashing can occur remotely and anonymously, making it more difficult to identify and apprehend the perpetrator.

While both cyberflashing and indecent exposure can cause distress and discomfort to victims, cyberflashing often occurs in online or digital spaces, whereas indecent exposure typically occurs in physical, real-world environments.

Is cyberflashing a criminal offence in the UK?

As of January 2024, following the implementation of The Online Safety Act, sending an unsolicited nude image to someone could potentially lead to accusations of cyberflashing.

You must have the intention for the recipient to view the genitals and experience alarm, distress or humiliation. Alternatively, you can be deemed responsible for this offence if you send the photo or video with the aim of deriving sexual satisfaction and showing disregard for whether the recipient will experience alarm, distress or humiliation.

What is the punishment for cyberflashing according to new UK laws?

Cyberflashing is an either-way offence with a sentence of up to 2 years imprisonment. While being convicted of this offence does not automatically result in placement on the sex offenders register, any term in prison or a community order lasting at least 12 months will lead to you being subject to notification requirements. 

How can Lawtons help?

At Lawtons, our specialised team of solicitors, focused on sexual offence cases, stands ready to ensure a thorough and professional evaluation of every aspect of your situation. We offer expert counsel, including advice on whether to cooperate with police investigations related to your case and a comprehensive review of any examinations conducted by law enforcement. Our deep expertise and proven track record position us to diligently pursue the most favourable resolution possible on your behalf.

If you require more information regarding legal proceedings involving cyberflashing charges, or wish to discreetly discuss the specifics of your case, please feel free to reach out to us.

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