Crime victims helpline sees huge increase in reports of illegally shared intimate images

Non-consensual sharing of sexual images became an offence in early 2021, with minister crediting awareness programme for rise in reports

There was an almost 300 per cent increase in victims seeking help after so-called revenge porn last year, according to figures released by the Crime Victims Helpline.

It follows the criminalisation of the non-consensual sharing of sexual images in 2021.

The Crime Victims Helpline assists victims of crime by providing information and support to callers. In 2022, it dealt with 5,828 contacts, a 17 per cent increase on the previous year. According to its annual report, the helpline was contacted by victims of 27 types of crime, with assault, harassment and sexual abuse being the most common.

There was a significant increase in victims of online-based crimes coming forward. Reports of online fraud doubled from 86 to 172, and reported non-consensual sharing of intimate images increased from 29 to 109, a 275 per cent jump.


Non-consensual image sharing became an offence in February 2021 under the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020, also known as Coco’s Law.

Reports of crimes with a racist or LGBT hate motivation also increased substantially, but from a low base. The helpline recorded 16 incidents with a LGBT hate motivation, up from nine the previous year, and 48 racist hate incidents, up from 27.

Reports of domestic abuse increased by seven per cent to 220.

Last year the helpline referred over 3,000 people to 74 different organisations for further support, it said.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee tied the increase in reports of non-consensual image sharing to an awareness campaign launched by her department in late 2021.

“At least now, people who are subjected to this vile act are able to recognise it as a crime and find the support they need,” she said.

Ms McEntee praised the Crime Victims Helpline which she said “plays a vital role in supporting victims of crime and is an important partner to the Department of Justice.”

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times