Charity Refuge had identified an emerging form of domestic abuse - women were experiencing threats from their current or former partner to share their intimate images and films. As the law stood, they had very limited access to justice, as the police had no powers to protect them.
With the Domestic Abuse Bill going through Parliament, Refuge's 'The Naked Threat'
campaign wanted to make this threat of sharing intimate images a crime. It needed to prove
the problem existed, the extent of it, then campaign for the law to be changed.
It commissioned a Refuge survivor survey, with research showing that one in seven women,
in particular younger women, were experiencing this type of threat.
With this evidence base Refuge was able to take its call to change the law to the
government, asking for this threat to be made a crime in the Domestic Abuse Bill. To raise
social and political awareness, Refuge engaged its supporter base and the public at large to
send e-letters to ministers supporting the call for this change, with 45,000 people taking
action. Refuge also amplified the voices of those targeted by such abuse and secured cross-
party high-profile ministerial and peer support.
The charity also secured the support of influencer, Zara McDermott, who has herself
experienced the trauma of image-based abuse. To reach its key audience of young women
primarily affected by this issue, Refuge secured a pro bono media partnership with Cosmo
magazine, which is recognised for its campaigning ethos. In March, the government agreed
to make threatening to share intimate images a crime in the Domestic Abuse Bill.
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