Image-based Sexual Abuse: A Study on the Causes and Consequences of Non-consensual Nude or Sexual Imagery

Nicola Henry, Clare McGlynn, Asher Flynn, Kelly Johnson, Anastasia Powell, Adrian Scott

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review


This book investigates the causes and consequences of image-based sexual abuse in a digital era. Image-based sexual abuse refers to the taking or sharing of nude or sexual photographs or videos of another person without their consent. It includes a diversity of behaviours beyond that of "revenge porn", such as the secret trading of nude or sexual images online; "upskirting", "downblousing" and other "creepshots"; blackmail or "sextortion" scams; the use of artificial intelligence to construct "deepfake" pornographic videos; threats to distribute photographs and videos without consent; and the taking or sharing of sexual assault imagery. This book investigates the pervasiveness and experiences of these harms, as well as the raft of legal and non-legal measures that have been introduced to better respond to and prevent image-based sexual abuse.

The book draws on groundbreaking empirical research, including surveys in three countries with over 6,000 respondents and over 100 victim-survivor and stakeholder interviews. Guided by theoretical frameworks from gender studies, sociology, criminology, law and psychology, the authors argue that image-based sexual abuse is more commonly perpetrated by men than women, and that perpetration is higher among some groups, including younger and sexuality minority men. Although the motivations of perpetrators vary, a dominant theme to emerge was that of power and control. The gendered nature of the abuse means that it is best understood as a "continuum of sexual violence" because victim-survivors often experience it as part of a broader pattern of gendered harassment, violence and abuse.

Written in a clear and direct style, this book will appeal to students and scholars of criminology, sociology, law and psychology. Image-based Sexual Abuse is also an essential resource for activists, legal and policy practitioners, technology companies and victim-survivors seeking to understand the deeply complex nature of intimate-image sharing in a digital era.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages186
ISBN (Electronic)9781341135153
ISBN (Print)9780815353836
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameRoutlege Critical Studies in Crime, Diversity and Criminal Justice


  • image-based abuse
  • image-based sexual abuse
  • revenge pornography
  • victim

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