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Image courtesy State of Delaware

Legislators in the Delaware State Senate have advanced legislation that would allow compensation for the victims of so-called “revenge porn,” in which sexually explicit images that were consensually given to an intimate parter are later shared with others without the person’s consent.

Senate Bill 169 would provide victims with “an additional remedy” under state law, in addition to the 2014 law that criminalized nonconsensual image sharing by providing specific damages that victims could seek in civil lawsuits, independent of any criminal proceedings.

Senator Stephanie Hansen, a Democrat from Middletown stated “Privacy risks abound in today’s internet age, but there is something especially damaging and traumatic about having private or explicit images leaked to the public.”

While the new law, titled the “Delaware Uniform Civil Remedies for Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act” doesn’t provide any additional criminal penalties, it lays out a wide array of civil remedies for victims. Specifically, stating that plaintiffs may seek economic or noneconomic damages, statutory damages not to exceed 10,000 dollars, punitive damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs.

According to state lawmakers, most forms of nonconsensual image sharing can be traced back to the advent of sexting and other digital sharing of intimate images. By early 2014, Pew Research Center information showed that roughly 1-in-10 adults had sent a sext of themselves to someone else and 1-in-5 had received one. Both figures had more than doubled from 2012. Additionally, the research indicated that 3% of cell phone users had forwarded a sext to a third party.