The Sunday Telegraph

Tougher sentences for naming rape victims online

- By Charles Hymas HOME AFFAIRS EDITOR

PEOPLE who name rape victims on social media or elsewhere will face up to two years in prison under plans being considered by the Justice Secretary.

Robert Buckland is considerin­g raising the maximum jail sentence from six months to two years to strengthen the anonymity guaranteed to rape victims.

He believes tougher sentences are a deterrent in face of the sense of impunity that a rising number of users can feel online. The move comes days after the Government unveiled measures to reverse the collapse in rape prosecutio­ns.

A Ministry of Justice source said: “The scale of social media means thousands of people can see and learn the name or personal details of a rape victim. It is felt the current summary penalty is not sufficient.”

The most high-profile case involved a woman who had allegedly been raped by the footballer Ched Evans. Nine people were fined £624 each after they admitted revealing her identity on social media after Evans’s conviction. He was later cleared in a retrial.

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