Hotline will help remove images shared without consent

2 Sep 2021

Image: © New Africa/Stock.adobe.com

The new reporting service is part of a wider campaign to combat the sharing of non-consensual sexual images online.

A new service aims to help people whose images have been shared online without consent to report and remove them from the internet.

The service from Hotline, the Irish national centre for reporting potentially illegal online content, is part of a wider campaign to highlight the abusive nature of the non-consensual sharing of sexual images.

The reporting mechanism allows users to complete an online form to anonymously report images that have been shared without consent.

Minister of State with special responsibility for civil and criminal justice Hildegarde Naughton, TD, launched the campaign and said there is no excuse for sharing or threatening to share non-consensual images.

“If you share an intimate image without consent, you share in the abuse and there is legislation in place with appropriate punitive measures that will challenge the actions of these abusers,” she said.

The campaign follows the enactment of Coco’s Law earlier this year, also known as the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act.

This act created new offences which criminalise the non-consensual distribution of sexual images.

As well as the new reporting mechanism, the campaign launched today (2 September) seeks to remind those affected that there are now laws in place in relation to these images with penalties of up to seven years in prison.

“Coco’s Law represents a big step forward in tackling harassment and harmful communications and this campaign is about raising awareness of various aspects of this legislation,” said Naughton.

“The message must and will be heard that sharing or threatening to share intimate images it will not be tolerated under any circumstances both by the law and by wider society.”

Anyone who has had an image shared without their consent online can contact hotline.ie/report. Hotline can then help with reporting and removing the content. It will also liaise with An Garda Síochána on some intimate image abuse cases if the person wishes.

Independent research commissioned by the Department of Justice found that one in 20 adults claims to have had an intimate image of themselves shared online without consent. This rises to one in 10 among 18 to 37-year-olds.

According to its latest annual report, 2020 saw Hotline receive more than 10,000 public reports for the third consecutive year.

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com