Cyberflashing: An Introduction & Sentencing Guidelines

Cyberflashing has become a term that is being used more and more as the internet takes over nearly all of our communication. But what is cyberflashing and what type of cyberflashing law the UK has developed to protect online users and appropriately punish those who have sent an unsolicited sexual image?

The expert team at DPP Law can explain everything you need to know about cyberflashing including:

  • What is cyberflashing?
  • Is cyberflashing illegal?
  • How common is cyberflashing?
  • Is cyberflashing the same as ‘indecent exposure?’
  • Is ‘sexting’ the same as cyberflashing?
  • How long can you get in jail for cyberflashing?
  • How is cyberflashing being tackled?
  • How to prevent being a victim of cyberflashing
  • How can DPP Law’s family law solicitors help?

What Is Cyberflashing?

Cyberflashing is the term used to describe when someone sends an unsolicited sexual image from their electronic device to another person without their consent.

This can be done through Bluetooth, AirDrop, WiFi and any other way of sending a file without needing to connect with the person online first. It’s usually found to be occurring in a public place or on public transport and is often an opportunistic crime.

Is Cyberflashing Illegal?

Cyberflashing is illegal in England and Scotland and Wales, with it being made illegal in Scotland in 2010 and illegal in England and Wales as of March 13th 2022.

How Common Is Cyberflashing?

Research done by the dating app Bumble found that 48% of women aged 18-24 had been the victim of cyberflashing after they were sent an unsolicited sexual photo or received an unwanted explicit photo in the last year.

In fact, a report put together by YouGov highlighted that four in 10 women of the millennial generation have been sent an unsolicited photo of a man’s genitals without the receiver’s consent.

Is Cyberflashing the same as ‘Indecent Exposure?’

Whilst cyberflashing is a separate crime from indecent exposure, it is very similar.

Cyberflashing is the act of sending an unsolicited sexual image to someone online, without their consent. Whilst indecent exposure is showing someone your genitals in a public place without someone’s consent, usually with the aim of causing them distress.

The only difference between the two is the medium in which the content is shared.

Is ‘Sexting’ the Same as Cyberflashing?

Cyberflashing is a form of sexual harassment or abuse and is usually characterised by the intent behind the action.

Sending sexual messages to a consenting adult is not a crime, however, if you were to send a sexual image without their consent, this could be cyberflashing and could be a punishable offence. The boundaries are clear and focus on the consent of the individual who will be receiving the image. If you don’t have enthusiastic consent, do not send the image.

How Long Can You Go to Jail for Cyberflashing?

The UK government made cyberflashing a crime in order for sexual offenders to understand the harsh approach the justice system will have on any action designed to make people feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.

As a result, defendants found guilty of cyberflashing will face up to two years in prison.

In fact, Dominic Raab who was Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice at the time of the law being put into place, said:

“Protecting women and girls is my top priority which is why we’re keeping sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer, giving domestic abuse victims more time to report assaults and boosting funding for support services to £185m per year.

Making cyberflashing a specific crime is the latest step – sending a clear message to perpetrators that they will face jail time.”

How is Cyberflashing Being Tackled in the UK?

It’s clear from recent decisions that the cyberflashing law UK has been made much harsher in accordance with the crackdown on sexual offences. However, there has been more done to try and tackle the issue of cyberflashing.

There is a government bill that has been put forward to make it social media platform’s legal responsibility to assist in any investigations of illegal and harmful content that’s been shared.

How to Prevent Being a Victim of Cyberflashing

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to stop crime from happening, and cyberflashing may still occur.

There are things you can do to lessen the chances of being a victim of cyberflashing, such as turning off your Bluetooth when you don’t need it, or selecting the ‘Contacts Only’ option in your settings so that only people you have on your phone can send you any images without checking first.

However, it is not your responsibility to adapt your behaviour to avoid a crime being committed, it is the perpetrator’s to monitor their actions accordingly instead.

How Can DPP Law’s Family Law Solicitors Help?

With over 35 years of experience, DPP Law can advise solicitors on a variety of different issues and complexities, and cyberflashing is no different. It may be a relatively new law in 2022, but the team at DPP Law are dedicated to being as up-to-date as possible.

Get the Support You Need With DPP Law

Working for over three decades on a wide variety of sexual offence cases, DPP Law can help you answer more than ‘what is cyberflashing?’ The team behind the name are professional and passionate and will be able to develop the best defence you need, in the event of you facing an allegation.

Get in touch with DPP Law’s expert team of sexual offence solicitors to make the process smoother.