A new law is soon to be introduced in the UK, and it will make the act known as ‘cyberflashing’ a criminal offence.
Not sure what ‘cyberflashing’ is? Well, the practice typically involves offenders sending an unsolicited sexual image to people via social media or dating apps, but it can also be done over data sharing services such as Bluetooth and Airdrop too, and in some instances, a preview of the photo can appear on a person’s device – which means that even if the transfer is rejected, victims are still forced into seeing the image.
It’s a practice that’s sadly on the rise too, as new research conduced by Professor Jessica Ringrose from 2020 found that 76% of girls aged 12-18 had been sent unsolicited nude images of boys or men.
This is why government ministers have confirmed their plans to ban the act, which is set to be included in the landmark Online Safety Bill, alongside wide-ranging reforms to keep people safe on the internet.
Under this new law, perpetrators could face up to two years behind bars.
The Government says the new offence will ensure ‘cyberflashing’ is captured clearly by the criminal law, giving the police and Crown Prosecution Service “greater ability to bring more perpetrators to justice”, and it follows similar recent action to criminalise upskirting and breastfeeding voyeurism.
The Government says it is “determined” to protect people, particularly women and girls, from these emerging crimes.
The introduction of the new law means that anyone who sends a photo or film of a person’s genitals, for the purpose of their own sexual gratification or to cause the victim humiliation, alarm or distress may face up to two years in prison.
Speaking on the introduction of the new law, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab 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 £185 million per year.
“Making cyberflashing a specific crime is the latest step – sending a clear message to perpetrators that they will face jail time.”
“Tech has the power to bring people together and make our lives better, but it can also enable heinous behaviour from those who wish to abuse, harm and harass,” added Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries.
“The forthcoming Online Safety Bill will force tech companies to stop their platforms being used to commit vile acts of cyberflashing.
“We are bringing the full weight on individuals who perpetrate this awful behaviour.”
According to the government, the Online Safety Bill will put more legal responsibility on social media platforms, search engines and other websites or apps which host user-generated content to tackle a range of illegal and harmful content on their services, and the new cyberflashing offence comes after three other new criminal offences were introduced through this Bill, tackling a wide range of “harmful private and public online communication”.
These include sending abusive emails, social media posts and WhatsApp messages, as well as ‘pile-on’ harassment – where many people target abuse at an individual such as in website comment sections.
Andy Burnham wants to help more girls get into football
Andy Burnham has urged schools to do more to encourage young girls to get into football.
The Greater Manchester Mayor was speaking to Sky News‘ Kay Burley on Thursday, 8 December as he discussed the importance of promoting more women in football and sport, in general.
Burnham said that himself, the FA and notable women’s football advocates like former keeper Karen Bardsley are “determined” to make sure the buzz following the Women’s Euros isn’t just a flash in the pan.
With the England men’s team currently trying to replicate the Lionesses‘ success as they prepare for the quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup, he went on to emphasise the lasting memories football can create on a global scale.
The Mayor went on to say that with the help of schools across the UK, they hope to “make sure that the success the Lionesses had in the summer becomes a permanent legacy”, imploring schools, the sporting community and the nation at large “not let those summer memories fade”.
Insisting that he already feels the heroics of Euro 2022 have already had an impact when it comes to inspiring more girls to get into football.
He said that the uptake among “women in football” since the tournament has been “amazing” but warned educators and parents not to “leave it to chance” and provide the support to make “real change”.
Coins with King Charles III’s face on have officially entered circulation today
The Royal Mint has announced that the first coins to bear the effigy of King Charles III have officially entered circulation today.
In what marks the historic transition from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III on the public’s money, following the passing of the former back in September after 70 years on the throne, the first coins to bear The King’s portrait – are 50 pence pieces, and they will start to appear in circulation in Post Offices around the UK from today.
The coins not only bear The King’s face, but are also said to commemorate the life and legacy of the late monarch.
The reverse of the 50 pence features a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown, and includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield, and in between each shield is an emblem of the home nations – a rose, a thistle, a shamrock, and a leek.
4.9 million 50 pence coins with King Charles III’s face on have been sent to UK Post Offices today.
The coin will first begin being distributing as change when customers make a purchase in store, The Royal Mint explains, before a total of 9.6 million 50ps eventually enter circulation in line with the public demand for them.
“Today marks a new era for UK coinage,” commented Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to add to their collections, or start one for the first time. We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King.
“The Royal Mint has been trusted to make coins bearing the Monarch’s effigy for over 1,100 years and we are proud to continue this tradition into the reign of King Charles III.”
Also speaking as the coins enter circulation today, Nick Read – Chief Executive Office of the Post Office – said: “It is a tremendous honour for the Post Office that the first coinage featuring King Charles III is being released into circulation via our extensive branch network.
“December is our busiest time of the year so the coin will be entering our network in a phased manner.
“If you don’t receive the new 50p in your change on your first visit to a Post Office, you may well get it in your change in a subsequent visit, so keep a look out for it.”
All approximately 27 billion UK coins with Queen Elizabeth II’s face on will remain legal tender and in active circulation, and will eventually be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for new coins.