• Rikke Sørup Larsen
  • Trine Ravn Nielsen
In recent years, there has been an increase in both media coverage and the number of police reports on non-consensual distribution of intimate images. There has not yet been much research done on the field and in particular not within the reported part of the phenomenon in the police. In collaboration with the North Jutland Police, this study has the intention to characterize the trends in the police reports based on the following research question:

What characteristics and patterns can be identified in cases reported to the police about non-consensual distribution of intimate images and how can they be considered in relation to the police's handling of the phenomenon in practice?

The study is based on a mixed methods approach using a quantitative and a qualitative content analysis. Through the quantitative content analysis we have coded 286 cases, reported to the Police in Denmark in the years 2015 and 2016. With the quantitatively based empirical material, it has been possible to characterize the reported phenomenon. In addition, a cluster analysis was made to derive patterns in the phenomenon. Based on these clusters, a qualitative content analysis has been conducted to develop a typology.

To answer the research question, we draw on three different theoretical understandings; a gendered perspective, the victimology, and theoretical understandings of police culture.

The most prominent characteristics within the phenomenon are that it is a gendered phenomenon, among young people in particular, where boys share intimate images of girls. This trend can be explained by cultural understandings of gender, where there are different expectations for the behaviour of either men or women. The relationship between the victim and the perpetrator is generally characterized by an intimacy in which the perpetrator is a friend, acquaintance, former friend or former romantic partner. Furthermore, the reported cases of illegally shared intimate pictorial material are characterized by a high degree of severity as the shared images and videos portray the victims in very intimate situations, as well as the material is shared to the general public.

Despite more frequent trends, the phenomenon is characterized by a large variation. This is particularly evident in four developed types, identifying different course of events and motives for distribution. The first type is called "Revenge Porn" and it often occurs between former romantic partners where the male shares the female as a tool for revenge. The other type is called "Adult Harassment". The type contains people over the age of 34, and the victims and perpetrators are former partners. The distribution is generally the result of impotence from the male party and it often occurs in connection with a general harassment of the victim. The third type is called "Bullying Among Youngsters". There are two different trends within this type. 1) Young girls who share other young girls as a means of bullying and revenge. 2) Young boys sharing young acquainted girls due to sexual curiosity and a hope of masculine recognition. The last type is called "Partying and Youth Behaviour" and is characterized by spontaneous distributions occurring during festive circumstances. The shared material here is most often sex videos.
Thus the reported phenomenon has many shades, which makes it complex for the police to handle in practice. This results in a differentiated registration practice. In addition, the explosive increase in the reports has resulted in a large fall in the number of charges from 2015 to 2016. The handling of the cases in relation to the number of charges and prosecutions for the illegal distribution varies depending on the typology, where a higher degree of severity can be identified in dealing with the types named "Bullying among Youngsters" and "Partying and Youth Behaviour". This can be explained by lack of resources, but it can also be explained by different degrees of victim precipitation in the events of the types, as well as an embedded understanding in the police that real police work does not deal with events in the private sphere.
Publication date4 Aug 2017
Number of pages114
External collaboratorNordjyllands Politi
Claus Serup CSE004@politi.dk
ID: 261215391