Online Leak of Sexual Images and the need for Adequate Legislation

The reports of the mass leak of sexual images without consent greatly concerned me when news reached me today. The Harassment, Harmful Communications, and Related Offences Bill was already due before the justice committee but this incident only serves to further highlight the need to expediate its way through the legislative process. This is a serious matter and I have written to the minister to ensure that it receives priority attention.

Text of my letter to the Minister:

“Minister McEntee A Chara,

I am writing to you regarding the proposed legislation to tackle image-based sexual abuse in Ireland, as promised in the Programme for Government. As you will be aware, the recent leak which saw thousands of images and videos of women shared on forums without their consent, many of which were taken without the women’s knowledge, was merely yet another incident of the widespread prevalence of image-based sexual abuse in Ireland.

It is my understanding that the Harassment, Harmful Communications, and Related Offences Bill will be brought before the Justice Committee on December 1st 2020. I would be grateful if you could confirm the expected timeline for the Bill and whether it will be passed before the end of the year as proposed?

Image-based sexual abuse removes a woman’s right to autonomy and may affect her personal and work life, not to mention the severe mental and physical impacts it can cause. It contributes to a culture that is conducive to sexual violence and normalises non-consensual sexual-activity.

I would urge you to ensure this legislation receives full priority and is implemented as a matter of urgency.

Kind regards,

Deputy Patrick Costello”

Image Credit: Here