Tuesday 21 November 2017

Revenge porn report a 'pivotal step' towards justice for victims

A victim of revenge porn says new proposals to deal with cyber crime mark an 'amazing' step towards justice for victims. Stock Image
A victim of revenge porn says new proposals to deal with cyber crime mark an 'amazing' step towards justice for victims. Stock Image
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

A victim of revenge porn says new proposals to deal with cyber crime mark an "amazing" step towards justice for victims.

'Jane' had been broken up with her ex-boyfriend for four years when she discovered last February that he had put sexually explicit pictures and a video of her online.

"I wound up being completely shocked and disgusted and I had to go to the guards about it, who were absolutely incredible.But unfortunately, as we found out, there's no law in place at the moment to protect people like myself from that kind of act," she said.

She was speaking following a report by the Law Reform Commission which proposes a new set of tough laws to deal with online harassment.

Read more: 'There was nothing the guards could do for me' - victim of revenge porn speaks out

This would include explicit images or video uploaded without the victim's consent, also known as 'revenge porn', as well as online bullying, cyber stalking and online intimidation.

The report recommends a maximum sentence of seven years for those convicted of uploading 'revenge porn', but Jane is uncertain that this is enough for victims.

"I don't think seven years is sufficient, based on the long-term psychological affect that it's had on me, anyway. But I'm sure that a lot of thought and consideration has gone into the seven years," Jane told Sean O'Rourke on RTE radio.

Professor Donncha O'Connell, Commissioner of the Law Reform Commission, said that the bill should not be difficult to get through the Oireachtas, but warned that a proposed new Digital Safety Commissioner would need to be properly resourced in order to do their job.

Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson for Justice, Jim O'Callaghan has said that the report underscores the need to do more to tackle the emergence of online hate campaigns and online bullying.

Mr O'Callaghan said: "Cyber-bullying can have devastating consequences and tackling it will require more education, more support and more resources for school staff, parents and students.

"Online bullying, hate campaigns and harassment are a major issue, most principally for our younger generations and we need a strong basis in law to help tackle it."

Women's Aid said that new laws to tackle digital abuse within intimate relationships would "mark a pivotal step" in bringing Ireland's laws into the 21st century.

"The most common form of digital abuse we hear about are damaging rumours being spread about women both personally and professionally and having sexually explicit images and posted online."

Irish Independent

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