The Institute for the Equality of Women & Men (IGVM) of Belgium has issued guidelines on how better to assist victims of non-consensual distribution of sexually explicit content and improve probe, as announced by Secretary of State for Gender Equality Sarah Schlitz on Wednesday.
The guidelines are designed to provide the best possible support to victims when faced with this type of situations (especially in cases of so-called ‘revenge porn’) and also to clarify how to conduct an investigation into these types of acts, which are increasingly common and police are still often powerless to deal with.
Schlitz said that, “The phenomenon of online sexual violence is still insufficiently understood and taken seriously. Offenders often tend to blame the victim, but sharing sexual images or videos without the consent of the person, appearing in them is loathsome.”
Therefore, at the request of and in collaboration with the police, these guidelines were drawn up to ensure that victims feel safe, that their file is handled properly and that the perpetrators are prosecuted. “Social networks are part of the public space and not everything is allowed,” she stressed.
A report of the Institute for the Equality of Women & Men published on Tuesday shows that people who have experienced at least one form of unwanted distribution, production or reception of nude photos are significantly more often female, younger, part of the LGBTQ+ community and living in Wallonia.
Additionally, Schlitz is currently working on several measures to combat online sexual violence such as the ability to file a complaint online.