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Seeking justice and redress for victim-survivors of image-based sexual abuse

Rackley, E.; McGlynn, C.; Johnson, K.; Henry, N.; Gavey, N.; Flynn, A.; Powell, A.

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E. Rackley

N. Henry

N. Gavey

A. Flynn

A. Powell


Despite apparent political concern and action – often fuelled by high-profile cases and campaigns – legislative and institutional responses to image-based sexual abuse in the UK have been ad hoc, piecemeal and inconsistent. In practice, victim-survivors are being consistently failed: by the law, by the police and criminal justice system, by traditional and social media, website operators, and by their employers, universities and schools. Drawing on data from the first multi-jurisdictional study of the nature and harms of, and legal/policy responses to, image-based sexual abuse, this article argues for a new joined-up approach that supports victim-survivors of image-based sexual abuse to ‘reclaim control’. It argues for a comprehensive, multi-layered, multi-institutional and multi-agency response, led by a government- and industry-funded online or e-safety organisation, which not only recognises the diversity of victim-survivor experiences and the intersection of image-based sexual abuse with other forms of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination, but which also enables victim-survivors to reclaim control within and beyond the criminal justice system.


Rackley, E., McGlynn, C., Johnson, K., Henry, N., Gavey, N., Flynn, A., & Powell, A. (2021). Seeking justice and redress for victim-survivors of image-based sexual abuse. Feminist Legal Studies, 29(3), 293-322.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 16, 2021
Online Publication Date May 27, 2021
Publication Date 2021-11
Deposit Date Apr 22, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 6, 2021
Journal Feminist Legal Studies
Print ISSN 0966-3622
Electronic ISSN 1572-8455
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 3
Pages 293-322


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (708 Kb)

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Advance online version Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

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