Meriden MP Saqib Bhatti secures legislation to criminalise cyber flashing - The Solihull Observer

Meriden MP Saqib Bhatti secures legislation to criminalise cyber flashing

Solihull Editorial 7th Apr, 2024   0

MERIDEN MP Saqib Bhatti  has welcomed the introduction of criminalisation of cyber flashing and other crimes as part of the Online Safety Act.

Cyber flashing consists of sending an unwanted sexual image to a victim online.

The need for this legislation is evidenced by YouGov research that four in ten women aged 18 to 34 have been sent unwanted sexual images.

The Act came into force on 31st January 2024 and introduced a range of new jailable online offences, including cyber flashing, sending death threats, and ‘epilepsy-trolling’.

The first conviction for cyber flashing occurred in March 2024 with the perpetrator sentenced to 66 weeks in prison.

Nicholas Hawkes sent unwanted images of his genitals to a 15-year-old girl and a woman using iMessage and WhatsApp.

Mr Bhatti welcomed this conviction as a significant milestone, sending a clear signal to online

He said: “Cyber flashing was among the vile offences we criminalised in January as part of our ground-breaking Online Safety Act.

“It is imperative that we safeguard people on the internet and use the full extent of the law to prosecute those who would use the internet to perpetrate crimes.”

“I often get constituents and parents speaking to me about their worries around the online world especially for children.

“As a father of two young children, I’m keen that the online world is safe for them and that is why this world-leading piece of legislation is so important.”

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