• By Admin

DUBLIN RAPE CRISIS CENTRE WELCOMES GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO OUTLAW INTIMATE IMAGE ABUSE.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has welcomed today’s announcement by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD that the Cabinet plans to create new criminal offences that would ban the taking and sharing of intimate images of a person without their permission. Aspects of this behaviour are sometimes called ’revenge porn’ and ‘upskirting’.

The Government has agreed to take over a 2017 Bill on this topic proposed by Deputy Brendan Howlin of the Labour Party which is already before the Oireachtas.

According to DRCC’s CEO Noeline Blackwell: “If you take an intimate photo or film of another person without their permission, or you share it without their consent, you are violating that person’s dignity and their right to privacy.  It is wrong to do that: and we know from our work that it can be really harmful to the person whose privacy and dignity is invaded in this way. As it stands, our law isn’t effective to prosecute such harm.”

The Centre points out that the Law Reform Commission had already issued a report on Harmful Communications and Digital Safety in 2016 and suggests that as a result, it should be possible to move forward quickly with a new Bill, as the necessary research is already done.

DRCC is also calling for swift progress on the government’s recent proposal for new online safety laws. The Centre contributed to a public consultation undertaken by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in April 2019. Ms. Blackwell said: “Today’s commitment to outlaw the abuse of intimate images must move swiftly and in tandem with the promise to update online safety laws and appoint a digital safety commissioner. They are two sides of the same coin and both are needed urgently to improve the safety of our society and to prevent further harm to people within it”.

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Editor’s Notes

  1. The Cabinet Meeting in Cork today 1 May 2019 considered a proposal made by Minister Charles J. Flanagan to take over a Bill introduced by Deputy Brendan Howlin TD to outlay certain harmful communications.
  2. The Law Reform Commission report is available at this link: https://www.lawreform.ie/news/report-on-harmful-communications-and-digital-safety.683.html
  3. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre submission to the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment can be accessed on its website at this link: https://bit.ly/2GXhDgv
  4. Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is a non-governmental, voluntary organisation which has as its mission to prevent the harm and heal the trauma of rape. It offers a suite of services to victims of sexual violence. It runs the National 24-hour Helpline for those who need it in any part of the country. It offers face to face therapy and accompaniment to the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, to court or to Garda stations to people in Dublin and in surrounding areas from its offices at Leeson Street. There are outreach offices at Coolock Civic Centre, Dóchas Women’s Centre, Mountjoy Prison and Tallaght Hospital.  It runs education and training courses on a wide variety of topics associated with its work.
  5. We ask that when reporting on this topic, journalists remember that discussions on sexual violence can trigger personal trauma in those receiving the information. Where possible, please make reference to the National 24-hour helpline number 1800 77 88 88 for anyone who may be affected by the discussion.