Image-based sexual abuse: A study on the causes and consequences of non-consensual nude or sexual imagery, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Image-based sexual abuse

A study on the causes and consequences of non-consensual nude or sexual imagery, 1st Edition

By Nicola Henry, Asher Flynn, Anastasia Powell, Clare Mcglynn, Kelly Johnson, Adrian Scott


216 pages

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Hardback: 9780815353836
pub: 2020-07-08
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This book investigates the causes and consequences of image-based sexual abuse in a digital era. Image-based sexual abuse refers to the taking or sharing of nude or sexual photographs or videos of another person without their consent. It includes a diversity of behaviours beyond that of "revenge porn", such as blackmail or "sextortion" scams; the use of artificial intelligence to construct "deepfake" pornographic videos; and the taking or sharing of sexual assault imagery. This book investigates the pervasiveness and experiences of these harms, as well as the raft of legal and non-legal measures that have been introduced to better respond to and prevent image-based sexual abuse.

The book draws on ground-breaking empirical research, including surveys in three countries with over 6,000 respondents and over 100 victim-survivor and stakeholder interviews. Guided by theoretical frameworks such as gender studies, sociology, criminology, law and psychology, the authors argue that image-based sexual abuse is more commonly perpetrated by men than women, and perpetration is higher among some groups, including younger men and sexuality minority men. The motivations of perpetrators varied, and yet a dominant theme to emerge was that of power and control. The gendered nature of the abuse means that it is best understood as a "continuum of sexual violence" because victim-survivors often experience it as part of a broader pattern of gendered harassment, violence and abuse.

Written in a clear and direct style, this bookwill appeal to students and scholars of criminology, sociology, law and psychology. Image-based sexual abuse is also an essential resource for activists, legal and policy practitioners, technology companies and victim-survivors seeking to understand the deeply complex nature of intimate-image sharing in a digital era.


This book is essential reading for students, researchers, teachers, practitioners, and policy makers seeking a rich social scientific understanding of image-based sexual abuse. It is destined to become a classic piece of scholarship that significantly advances the study of the ways in which new technologies are used by men to abuse women.

Professor Walter S. DeKeseredy, West Virginia University 

This book draws on original survey and interview data to provide a compelling account of how ‘new’ forms of abuse confront us yet again with the familiar challenges stemming from living in a world still shaped by gendered and patriarchal legacies.

Professor Jan Jordan, Victoria University of Wellington


Table of Contents

1. Image-Based Sexual Abuse: Beyond "Revenge Pornography" 2.Victim-Survivor Experiences of Image-Based Sexual Abuse 3.The Harms of Image-Based Sexual Abuse (with Erika Rackley and Nicola Gavey) 4.Image-Based Sexual Abuse Perpetration: Power and Control 5.Visual Criminality: A Theory of Image-Based Sexual Abuse 6.The Missing Culture of Consent: Shifting Social Norms on Image-Sharing, Sexual Autonomy and Harm 7.Seeking Justice for Victim-Survivors of Image-Based Sexual Abuse (with Erika Rackley) 8.Preventing Image-Based Sexual Abuse: Ethics, Consent and Respectful Relationships 9.Conclusion

About the Authors

Nicola Henry an Associate Professor and Vice-Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow in the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University (Melbourne Australia). Her current research on image-based sexual abuse has helped to shape the development of new criminal and civil laws in Australia.

Clare McGlynn QC (Hon) is a Professor of Law at Durham University (UK), whose research and collaborations with politicians, policy-makers and the voluntary sector has shaped new laws relating to pornography, sexual violence and image-based sexual abuse.

Anastasia Powell is an Associate Professor of Criminology & Justice Studies at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia). She is the author of several books addressing both technology and sexual violence including: Digital Criminology (2019), and Sex, Power and Consent (2010).

Adrian J. Scott is a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London (UK), where he is a member of the Forensic Psychology Unit and the Co-Director of an accredited MSc programme in Forensic Psychology. He has a broad interest in forensic psychology, specialising in the areas of stalking and image-based sexual abuse.

Kelly Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at Durham University (UK). Her research focuses on sexual and domestic violence, particularly in areas related to image-based sexual abuse and policing.

Asher Flynn is an Associate Professor of Criminology at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Informed by national and international context, her research is interested in how people experience and access justice, and developing innovative legal and non-legal responses to violence and abuse in a world increasingly dominated by digital technology.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Crime, Diversity and Criminal Justice

The works in this series strive to generate new conceptual and theoretical frameworks to address the legal, organisational and normative responses to the challenges that diversity and intersectionality present to criminal justice systems. This series aims to present cutting edge empirically informed theoretical works from both new and established scholars around the world.

Drawing upon a range of disciplines including sociology, law, history, economics, anthropology, and social work, the series encourages different approaches to questions of mobility, social inequality, and exclusion with a cross-section of theorists, empiricists, and critical policy researchers. It will be key reading for scholars who are working in criminal justice, criminology, criminal law and human rights, as well as those in the fields of gender and LGBTI studies, migration studies, race and ethnic relations, social stratification, refugee studies and post-colonial studies.

We welcome book proposals that address any of these issues, or related topics, for an inclusive and interdisciplinary series. Please contact series co-editor, Patricia Faraldo Cabana ([email protected]) or Nancy Wonders ([email protected]) to discuss potential book projects. To submit a proposal, contact the Editor, Charlotte Endersby ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology