Victims of ‘vile and cowardly’ crime help police with training video

Oliver Whiting
Oliver Whiting

Young female victims of a man who posted grossly offensive images of them on porn sites have agreed to work with Sussex Police to produce a training video to help officers learn how to support other victims.

In the video officers and staff, including those who may first receive calls in the force’s 24-hour Contact Centre, will learn of the dramatic impact the incidents had on their lives and how police can improve their service.

Oliver Whiting, 37, of Langdale Close, Eastbourne, pleaded guilty to six offences of posting grossly offensive online images and comments about a woman, and five offences of posting such messages on-line to another woman, all on a website during 2015 and 2016 and all contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

Today (Tuesday, April 4) he was sentenced at the same court to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was also required to attend a Sexual Offender Treatment Programme, was served with an Order prohibiting his use of social media, was prohibited from contacting any of his victims, and was ordered to pay a £115 Victim Surcharge.

The prosecution resulted from an investigation by Eastbourne detectives which began following decisions to issue formal police cautions in April 2016 over website postings relating to four other women, and following the receipt of further information at the same time. Whiting was arrested in August 2016.

Those police cautions still stand and the four women who were victims of the offences do not include the two women referred to in the charges in relation to which Whiting has now pleaded guilty, said police.

Detective Chief Superintendent Nick May said, “The sentencing of Oliver Whiting today will I hope bring some satisfaction to the young women who became his victims. This has been a very distressing period in their lives.

“What Whiting did had a dramatic and negative impact on the lives of the victims.

“I pay tribute to the women who involved the media after the police had originally cautioned Whiting for offences. Whilst it was not always comfortable for us, they did highlight the need for society and police to understand the impact that such incidents can have on the victims. Whilst such injury is not physical, it is nevertheless extremely impactive and I think they did victims everywhere a service.

“I am also grateful to several of the women who helped us in producing a training video for our officers, to help Sussex Police improve the service we offer in such cases.”

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said, “I applaud the bravery of the women targeted who have helped Sussex Police improve how they support victims of this type of crime.

“By making the training video, they are courageously telling their story so we can understand the impact of this crime and how best to support victims.

“The impact on the victim of this kind of harassment should not be underestimated. I raised concerns about this last year when a man was simply cautioned by the force because it did not appear that this was being properly handled and understood by officers on the front line.

“I wanted to know then what Sussex Police was doing to raise awareness and to encourage reporting of revenge porn. I fully support this step to educate officers and staff about the impact which this vile and cowardly crime has upon victims.”

See our story about today’s sentencing of Oliver Whiting here