Sunday 27 May 2018

'Revenge porn' guilty to be listed as sex offenders

Brendan Howlin. Picture: Collins
Brendan Howlin. Picture: Collins

Ryan Nugent

A person found guilty of distributing "revenge porn" and sentenced to jail will be listed as a sex offender under proposed new laws.

The Government has agreed to abandon work on its own legislation tackling revenge porn and online harassment and back Labour leader Brendan Howlin's bill addressing the issue. The Government believes that Labour's bill, which was introduced last May, is the quickest way to ensure legislation in the area.

It will address four key areas including the creation of an offence in relation to the "non-consensual distribution of intimate images".

This offence is to be a sexual offence as per the Sex Offenders Act if the offender serves a prison sentence. The age of the victim of revenge porn, or their ability to protect themselves, is also to be considered an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing.

The bill also expands the definition of threatening or indecent messages to include messages sent using all forms of communication.

The offence of harassment will also be extended to include online and digital communications.

Minors may be prosecuted under the proposed laws with permission from the DPP.

The Attorney General has advised that amendments will need to be made to the new bill before it can be safely passed and it is not expected that the new legislation will be fast-tracked ahead of the summer recess.

Irish Independent

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