the Houses of Parliament on the banks of the River Thames
The House of Lords has tabled an amendment to the Criminals Justice and Courts Bill to add prison sentences for revenge porn offenders. Getty

The House of Lords will debate a change to the law in the UK which could make it a criminal offence to publish sexually explicit or pornographic images of individuals without their consent.

Liberal Democrat peers Baroness Olly Grender and Lord Jonathan Marks tabled an amendment to the Criminals Justice and Courts Bill that will introduce one-year prison sentences for people who post explicit images online without the subject's consent.

Revenge porn could also be added to the Sexual Offences Act, which means perpetrators would be placed on the sex offenders' register.

The peers said people charged under the proposed amendment must have believed that the image was intended to remain private at the time it was taken.

The proposed amendment came after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told MPs in the House of Commons that the government is open to having a "serious discussion" about changes to the law to criminalise revenge porn.

Grayling said MPs could take action as early as the autumn, when parliament reconvenes after the summer recess.

The justice minister was speaking in response to a parliamentary question raised by Maria Miller, the former culture secretary, who said the law needs to be changed in order to ensure that perpetrators of revenge porn are "properly punished".

"It's clearly becoming a bigger problem," Grayling said. "What I'd say to you today is the government is very open to having a serious discussion about this with a view to taking appropriate action in the autumn if we can identify the best way of doing so."

Miller said she was encouraged by Grayling's comments, adding: "We have to send out a very strong message that posting exceptionally explicit images online is completely unacceptable. People shouldn't have to face this degrading treatment."

Kathryn Tremlett, of the UK Safer Internet Centre Helpline, told The Mirror: "We've seen an increase in calls about revenge porn. Until we clamp down on this, it's going to continue to be an issue.

"It's great that this is going into the House of Lords. I hope this time next year we can use the police and the CPS to deal with this."

Police and youth charities recently warned of a rise in rapes perpetrated by London gangs, who distribute so-called "sket lists" of sisters and girlfriends of rival gangs whom they deem to be legitimate targets of rape.