Image-based sexual abuse

Anastasia Powell, Nicola Henry, Asher Flynn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in digital communications technologies have substantially and positively transformed how we connect and interact with one another professionally, socially, and intimately. At the same time, however, digital technologies are being increasingly used by perpetrators as tools of abuse, harassment, and violence. One manifestation of abuse and harassment in the digital era is the phenomenon known as “revenge pornography,” which refers to the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. While prior to the internet and the proliferation of digital imagery, perpetrators used a range of more conventional means of maliciously distributing intimate images, such as street posters and letterbox drops, today the non-consensual taking, distribution, or threat of distribution of intimate images is facilitated by online platforms - email, social media, and purpose-built websites - as well as the ready availability of compact cameras and camera-enabled smartphones with instant internet access. The non-consensual sharing and distribution of images has become a growing issue due to a number of factors, including the ease with which intimate or sexual images (by which we mean videos and photographs) can be created, uploaded, and downloaded; the difficulties associated with removing these images once they are online; and the variety of platforms that popularize and support the trade and consumption of non-consensual images.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Critical Criminology
EditorsWalter S Dekeseredy, Molly Dragiewicz
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781317221838
ISBN (Print)9781138656192
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • image-based sexual abuse
  • revenge pornography

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