Legislation outlawing ‘revenge porn’ to go before Cabinet next week, McEntee says

Announcement follows alleged leaking of thousands of images on Irish women online

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said she intends to bring legislation to Cabinet to  make it illegal to share “intimate images” without   consent.  File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said she intends to bring legislation to Cabinet to make it illegal to share “intimate images” without consent. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Cabinet is expected to sign off on legislation next week to outlaw so-called “revenge porn” following the alleged sharing of thousands of images of Irish women on online forums.

On Friday afternoon, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said she intends to bring provisions before the Government which will make it illegal to share “intimate images” without the consent of the person in the image.

The sharing of such images will be a criminal offence “regardless of the motivation of the person who passes them on”, the Minister announced.

Ms McEntee said she shares the anger of people over the non-consensual sharing of sexual images “and I want people to know that I am determined to act and to introduce tough new laws to ensure that anyone who shares these kinds of images will face serious criminal sanctions.”

The provisions will be included in the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill which was introduced by Labour two years ago and has been accepted by the Government.

The matter will go before Cabinet next Tuesday and the Bill is due to be debated in the Dáil next month.

Gardaí are continuing to carry out preliminary investigations into allegations that thousands of explicit images of Irish women were shared on online forums and chat servers. Gardaí are to investigate if any of the images may be of minors which would make the sharing of them an offence under child pornography legislation.

The images have been shared on online messaging forums, including one forum established so users can share explicit content that people, mainly women, have sold to subscribers on sites such as OnlyFans.

The images are likely to have come from a variety of sources, including shares between consenting adults on social media platforms and messaging apps, with no money exchanged.

Some images, gardaí said, may have been gathered by hacking sites where explicit content was bought and sold with the consent of both parties, but which has now been shared much more widely without consent.

Members of Victims’ Alliance, a victims advocacy group which first highlighted the matter, is expected to make a statement to gardaí today.