| 11.3°C Dublin

coco's law An Garda Síochána commence 28 prosecutions for new law surrounding 'revenge porn'

Nicole Fox (21) took her own life after years of online harassment

Close

Nicole Fox Fenlon with her mum Jackie

Nicole Fox Fenlon with her mum Jackie

Nicole Fox Fenlon with her mum Jackie

An Garda Síochána have commenced 28 prosecutions to date concerning a new law criminalising the sharing of intimate images online without the subjects’ consent.

The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020 targets so-called ‘revenge porn’, where people distribute intimate photos of others online to embarrass or harass their victims.

Now, in a written Dail reply to Deputy Alan Farrell TD (FG), the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD (FG) stated that to date Gardai have commenced 28 prosecutions by way of charges and summonses, relating to 19 separate investigations under the under the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020.

Ministry McEntee stated: “We need to make sure that people are aware of the harm caused to victims and of the potential penalties applicable if a person is tried and convicted of engaging in this unacceptable behaviour.”

The 2020 Act is known as “Coco’s Law” after Nicole Fox (21), who took her own life after years of online harassment and whose mother campaigned for strengthened legislation in the area.

The legislation - signed into law by President Michael D Higgins in late December 2020 and brought into effect in February 2021 - creates an offence where a person distributes, publishes or threatens to distribute or publish an intimate image of another person without that person’s consent and with intent to cause harm to another person.

Minister McEntee stated that the act provides a comprehensive definition of the term ‘intimate image’ and the penalties include a term of imprisonment of up to seven years on conviction on indictment.

It is also an offence to record, distribute or publish an intimate image without consent even if there was no intent to cause harm while distributing, publishing or sending a threatening or grossly offensive communication and that is an indictable offence with a maximum term of imprisonment of two years.

Minister McEntee stated that Coco's Law also increases the penalties for the offence of harassment, notably to 10 years for conviction on indictment as well as providing for increased fines and said that on September 2nd 2021, her Department with An Garda Síochána, established a partnership with Hotline.ie to create an online reporting facility.

Minister McEntee stated: “This enables victims of intimate image abuse (IIA) to report it to Hotline.ie and request the assistance of Hotline.ie who will engage with the relevant service provider to seek the removal of the illegal content reported.”

She added: “At the same time, if a victim requests, Hotline.ie will pass all relevant information to the Gardaí so that a thorough criminal investigation can be conducted with a view to prosecuting offenders.”

Minister McEntee stated that during the period September 2nd 2021 to March 23rd 2022, An Garda Síochána received 39 reports from Hotline.ie adding that following the removal of the reported links by Hotline.ie and further engagement by An Garda Síochána, 16 cases have been closed with no further action requested and 23 remain under assessment / investigation.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy