More than a third of women under 40 have received unsolicited sexual photos

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 02, 2024, 11:50 AM GMT+0

Two thirds say they were sent them on social media

This month saw the first prison sentence handed down for the crime of ‘cyberflashing’, with Essex man Nicholas Hawkes sentenced to 66 weeks for crimes including sending unsolicited photos of his erect penis to two people earlier in the year.

Hawkes may be the first person convicted under the new law – introduced in January – but he is unlikely to be the last if YouGov data is anything to go by.

Our survey finds that 36% of women under the age of 40 say that they’ve received unsolicited sexual photos from someone who was not a dating, sexual or romantic partner.

Of those who have received such images, 22% say it has happened to them in the last 12 months, meaning that overall one in every 12 women under 40 (8%) have been sent unsolicited sexual images in the last year.

Such images are primarily being sent on social media (67%), as well as over text or instant messaging (51%).

One of the people Nicholas Hawkes was convicted of cyberflashing was a 15 year old girl, and the results show that, worryingly, a majority of women under-40 who can recall the first time they received an unsolicited sexual image say that they were below the age of 16 at the time (55%).

See the full results here

Photo: Getty