This week, a topless photo of Claudia Conway was posted onto her mother, Kellyanne Conway’s Twitter account. Posted via Twitter’s ‘Fleets’, Claudia accused her mother of leaking the picture in one of many allegations of abuse the 16-year-old has made against her mother, who is a former aide to Donald Trump. Kellyanne is yet to publicly comment on the matter.
Claudia has since recanted her allegation, telling TikTok followers her mother ‘would never intentionally do that’ and that she now believes Kellyanne was hacked. The incident has now been passed over to police in New Jersey who have launched an investigation into the leak.
But if that wasn’t horrific enough news, look to Google Trends and you’ll see countless people are searching to find the leaked image of Claudia Conway. ‘Claudia Conway leaked,’ ‘Claudia Conway Twitter photo’ and ‘Kellyanne Conway daughter photo fleet’ are just few of many breakout search terms that show a mass of people have begun trying to find the illicit images in the last few days.
And while that is disgusting in and of itself, what it’s important to share it that it’s completely illegal too. Claudia Conway is 16-years-old, that makes her a minor in the US and regardless of whether you view it in the UK or not, it is against the law to view or share the image.
‘In England and Wales, it is a criminal offence to produce, possess or distribute indecent images of children,’ Emily McFadden, Associate in the Abuse Team at Bolt Burdon Kemp told Grazia. ‘A child is anyone aged under 18. Offences are punishable with up to 10 years in prison. The public should be aware that viewing these images is in itself a criminal offence, and carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment.’
While the age of consent is younger in the UK than it in the US, that doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law (and shouldn’t in the eyes of your moral compass). Regardless of whether Claudia is American or not, Emily says ‘if a member of the general public in England viewed online or possessed (downloaded) this image, then they’re committing an offence in this jurisdiction.’
Of course, the fact that it’s against the law shouldn’t matter – one would hope that anyone’s moral code would prevent them from ever searching for revenge porn. Particularly, when it involves a teenage girl.
‘As an abuse solicitor, I hear from many victims of image-based sexual abuse who are trying to get practical help as well justice for photos or videos being taken and/or published of them,’ says Emily. ‘The impact on something like this happening to children, at such a young age, can be huge; they are likely to fear it could happen again, and may experience mental health problems and difficulties with trust, particularly of people in positions of authority.’
So, before you think to even Google ‘Claudia Conway leaked photo’, remember that it’s not just immoral to cause such detriment to another human being, it’s illegal too.
If you've been affected by image-based sexual abuse and want to talk to someone, visit the Revenge Porn helpline here.