Revenge porn must be criminalised

I was shocked to hear a victim of cyber harassment, or what’s more commonly known as revenge porn, talk about her ordeal on radio this week. The young woman endured an outrageous violation of her privacy, when explicit pictures and a video were posted on line by her disgruntled ex-boyfriend. The young woman was completely unaware that she was being video- recorded on his webcam at the time.

Having spoken to many in the legal provision about this it’s clear that currently the investigation of revenge porn is very poorly provided for under Irish law. This is wrong and leaves Gardaí with limited scope to act.

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

Last year the UK passed legislation, making it illegal to disclose a private sexual photograph or film without the consent of the person depicted in the content. In the US, 34 States currently have revenge porn laws. Meanwhile Australia and New Zealand have also recently introduced state laws criminalising revenge porn abuses. Ireland must now follow suit.

The fact that there is no legal deterrent in this country for anyone who wishes to violate a person’s privacy in the most explicit way is totally unacceptable. I am now calling for the introduction of legislation, in line with the UK, to provide adequate protection for adults against the scourge of cyber harassment and revenge porn. There is an urgent need for updated legislation for this cyber age.

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