Petition calls on government to make revenge porn a criminal offence in Ireland

People are calling for the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill to be signed into law to protect against revenge porn in Ireland.

petition-revenge-porn-ireland

A petition has been launched calling on the Government to make image-based sexual abuse, aka revenge porn, a criminal offense in Ireland. 

Following reports of over 66,000 images of women and underage girls being circulated in an online folder, a petition was launched demanding the Government sign the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill into Irish law. Under this legislation, those found guilty will be added to the sex offenders register and face a criminal conviction, including being jailed for up to seven years.

Image-based sexual abuse refers to the revealing of sexually explicit images or videos of a person posted on the internet without the consent of the subject. The perpetrators generally aim to inflict emotional harm by doing so.

On Instagram, one person spoke about the impact of image-based sexual abuse, “It is not illegal for someone to share an image of me online without my consent. It is not illegal to use an image to blackmail me. If I speak out against this person, it is defamation. That’s illegal.”

“Ireland will not protect these women. It will not compensate them financially when they lose jobs over this. It will not provide mental health services for them as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of this. Ireland will ignore this. In doing so, Ireland protects the criminals responsible for this breach of privacy and consent,” they further wrote. 

Over 25,000 people have signed the Make revenge porn a criminal offence in Ireland petition to legislate image-based sexual abuse as a criminal offense. Currently, there are no legal protections for people subjected to this form of violence. 

The petition reads, “Women in Ireland live in constant fear of having their most private pictures released without consent and even being recorded unknowingly. Abusive partners will threaten women to stay with them or they will release their images causing them to stay trapped in abusive relationships.”

Further addressing the need for legislative protection in Ireland, in an episode of Glow West podcast Dr Caroline West speaks with campaigner Megan Jrenee and Cork Sexual Health Centre work Susan Walsh about the need to reframe conversations around image-based sexual abuse and how to help support victims. 

On Twitter, support group The Victims Alliance reported that the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill will be put forward to the Joint Committee on Justice on December 1. They also shared, “If you know your images have been shared without your consent, you can complain at your local Garda station under section 10 of the non fatal offences against the person act and we would urge you to do so.”

“You’re definitely not alone. It’s happened to thousands of others. And we’re working hard to make sure it stops, and that you get the support that you need and deserve. We’re sorry this is happening, and we’re here if you need us,” the Victims Alliance stated on Twitter. 

You can find the Make revenge porn a criminal offence in Ireland petition by following this link

If you have had personal images shared without your consent or are seeking advice on this issue, support services are available:

Women’s Aid

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

The Victims Alliance

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