RCNI statement on online abuse, support and responses 

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press Release 

19th Nov 2020  

RCNI statement on online abuse, support and responses 

RCNI would like to send out a message to anyone who believes they may be affected by the non-consensual sharing of private and intimate images that there is support available and that they are not to blame.   

We would like to condemn in the strongest possible way those who have shared or facilitated or downloaded images of this nature without the consent of the person. This is never ok; it is never harmless and very shortly it will be a criminal offence in Ireland to share intimate images of adults online without consent. There is already a range of criminal offences available in relation to intimate images of children being shared online 

Anyone affected by such behaviour can access support from a Rape Crisis Centre or domestic violence serviceDomestic and sexual violence services increasingly respond to this issue and trained support workers and counsellors are available to you through your local services (please find them on rapecrisishelp.ie or safeireland.ie) or through the national helplines (180341900 & 1800 778888). If you are under 18 please contact Childline on 1800 666 666 for support and guidance. If you are a parent or other adult concerned about intimate images of children being circulated online, please refer to www.hotline.ie to view their reporting procedure. Alternatively, you can report your concerns to An Garda Síochána directly. 

If you have access to someone else’s image that has been shared online and you are concerned it has been shared without their consent, it is vital that you refer the matter to the Gardaí and refrain from any further sharing or action around the image.  

RCNI continues to work on improving legislation pertaining to online abuse of any kind and we welcome the priority being given by this Government to the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill, which will reach its Dáil Select Committee stage on 1st December 2020 and is projected to be signed into law by the end of this year. This Bill contains new offences criminalising the distribution of intimate images of adults online without consent.  

Iaddition, the General Scheme on Online Safety and Media Regulation needs to be moved up the Government’s priority list to ensure the mechanisms exist for swift take down upon request and to establish Media Commissioner. 

We continue to work very actively with our partners here and globally to address this issue and to ensure harm is prevented and swift and appropriate action follows where harm and offending is detected 

Ends 

For information please contact Natalie Robinson: 0833682229