Man gets 66 weeks in jail for cyberflashing

  • A registered sex offender in England has been sentenced to 66 weeks in jail for cyberflashing a minor.
  • Cyberflashing is the term used when someone sends unsolicited images of their genitalia to another person electronically.
  • The man was sentenced under the UK’s recently passed Online Safety Act.

In October of last year the UK passed its Online Safety Act, with it proving divisive art the time as service providers were concerned about how it could potentially impact their ability to operate. While that remains a concern, the Act has now seen a man sentenced to 66 weeks in prison for cyberflashing.

For those unfamiliar, cyberflashing is the term used for those who send unsolicited images of their genitalia to another person electronically. Cyberflashing has since been outlawed in England and Wales as of 31st January this year.

In this particular case, registered sex offender Nicholas Hawkes admitted to sending images to a 15-year old girl and woman (age not disclosed), with Hawkes being the first person to be sentenced for this offence under the Act.

On top of the aforementioned 66-week prison sentence, Hawkes was also made subject to a restraining order for 10 years, and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order of 15 years.

“Using the new legislation, our prosecutors worked to deliver swift justice – securing a guilty plea just four days after Nicholas Hawkes sent disgusting photos to his victims,” noted Hannah von Dadelzsen, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, regarding the case.

“The Crown Prosecution Service has delivered the first conviction for cyberflashing, but it will not be the last and I urge anyone who has been a victim of this shocking crime – whether via instant messages, dating apps, or by any other means – to come forward, knowing you have the right to lifelong anonymity,” she stressed in an official statement.

As Engadget points out several other countries have moved to ban cyberflashing in recent years, including Scotland, Northern Ireland, Singapore, Australia, and some states in the US such as California, Texas, and Virginia.

At the time of writing, South African lawmakers are seemingly aware of cyberflashing, but there does not appear to be any specific law banning it outright.

[Image – Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash]


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