Finland is working on a new law that will criminalise the sending of unsolicited explicit photos. The Finnish Ministry of Justice announced today that, in renewing the laws on sexual crimes, harassment by means of messages and photographs will also be punishable.
In the new definition of sexual harassment, ‘verbal harassment, by means of photographs or messages, taking pictures of someone or themselves’ should also be included. The sentence will range from a fine to a six-month prison sentence. Research has shown that online sexual harassment is common in the form of sending sexual-tinted photos without permission, also known as dick pics.
At present, the Finnish law only recognises sexual harassment when there is physical contact. The sending of explicit images can sometimes be prosecuted on the basis of the defamation laws, but not on the basis of the sexual nature of the message. The proposal will be out sometime next year, will be submitted to the government, to the parliament, said Sami Kiriakos, the Finnish ministry of Justice.
The change in the law follows a study by the international aid organisation Plan which showed that half of the girls and young women worldwide have experienced online sexual harassment.
Changing the definition of rape is another part of the change in the law. According to the Ministry of Justice, the definition should be changed to “sex without consent” instead of the current classification that requires there to be physical violence or threat. The Dutch Minister of Justice, Ferd Grakerhaus, also recently called for a similar amendment.