Has someone shared sexually explicit images of you without your consent?

The term Image Based Sexual Abuse (sometimes inappropriately referred to as ‘revenge porn’) covers the online posting of sexually explicit visual material, without the consent of the person portrayed.  The term typically includes photographs and video clips which have been consensually generated-either jointly or by self (“sexting”), as well as content covertly recorded by a partner or unknown third party.

Image based sexual abuse is now a crime in Ireland and you can report it to An Garda Síochána.

Things you should know:*

  •  If private, sexually explicit material is posted online without your consent, notify the platform or website immediately.
  •  There may be an online complaint button,: if so, use it and make clear in your online complaint that the material is an invasion of your privacy, and data protection rights, and has been uploaded without your consent.
  •  If you know the person who uploaded the material, notify them also to take it down immediately for the same reasons.
  •  Often however, the person may not be identified. Also, even if he or she takes it down, the material may have been posted to other sites. For that reason, you need to contact the platform such as Facebook or Twitter, or whatever website is hosting the material.
  •  Take a screen shot of your complaint, so that you have a record of it, and send a written complaint to the platform or site, and the uploader, keeping a copy of your letters.

 Things you could say:

  • I did not consent to the image being shared, therefore this is an offence under the Harassment, Harmful Communications and related Offences Act 2020.

  • The material was private: I did not give permission for it to be published online. It is an invasion of my privacy rights under the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

  •  If the material relates to persons who are under the age of 18 years, the material may be classed as images of child sexual abuse. Possession or distribution by anyone of images of child sexual abuse is a criminal offence.  

  •  You have a right of access, rectification and erasure in relation to personally sensitive data under the Data Protection Acts 1988-2003, so request the internet site to take it down under Data Protection laws.
  •  If you are being blackmailed, or anyone is seeking money from you, or if you feel harassed, you can go to the Gardai to make a complaint.

If you have experienced this type of abuse and harassment please contact the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900 from 24 hours a day, seven days a week and speak to someone at your local Garda office (Click here).

What to do if you have received unsolicited explicit images/videos:

  • Report immediately to Gardaí if there is any possibility that they may feature minors as this is child abuse imagery.
  • The Gardaí may wish to preserve it as evidence but if they do not delete the images.
  • In NO circumstances, irrespective of concerns about exploitation of children, should you share any unsolicited images with any third party for any reason, as you may be implicating yourself in a criminal offence.

 *Please note that this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult a solicitor.