Senator says legislation to criminalise revenge porn must be introduced as a matter of urgency

Fine Gael Senator, Catherine Noone has today welcomed new proposals from the Law Reform Commission, which would see the posting of naked images online, and the taking of intimate photos without consent, made criminal offences in Ireland.

At the moment revenge porn is not classified as a crime in Ireland which means a person can post an intimate image of another person online, without their consent, and face no legal consequences.

Certain elements of revenge porn are covered under Section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997 namely the harassment offence and the stalking offence.

Speaking today, Senator No-one said:

“This is an issue I have raised on several occasions. Having spoken to many in the legal profession about this, it’s clear that the investigation of revenge porn is currently very poorly provided for under Irish law.

“This is wrong and leaves Gardaí with limited scope to act.

“Irish legislation is currently weak when it comes to protecting adults who have been seriously victimised on social media or online, including being depicted in intimate private photographs and videos.”

The Philippines was the first country to criminalise non-consensual pornography, back in 2009, and anyone found guilty can receive up to 7 years imprisonment.

Victoria, Australia was the next place to follow the lead of The Philippines in 2013 they made the posting of revenge porn a crime, while Israel has classified non-consensual pornography as a sexual assault in 2014.

England and Wales introduced a new section to the Criminal and Courts Act in April 2015, making it an offence to share photos of videos of a sexual nature of another person without their consent.

This includes the sharing of images on social media or via text.

Those convicted of an offence could face up to two years in prison.

Senator Noone said the moves towards bringing in laws to deal with this modern problem in this country are to be welcomed.

“I’m very pleased to read the Law Reform Commission’s new report ‘Harmful Communications and Digital Safety’.

“It recommends the enactment of two new criminal offences: one which forbids the posting online of intimate images without consent, the other which will prevent secretly filming or photographing private areas of a person.

“The report also recommends that a statutory Digital Safety Commissioner should be appointed, to promote digital safety, including an important educational role to promote positive digital citizenship among children and young people, in conjunction with the Ombudsman for Children and other education departments.

“I would now urge the Minister for Justice to introduce legislation in this area as a matter of urgency.”