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Revenge porn and ‘upskirting’ to finally be made illegal in Ireland


by Grace McGettigan
01st May 2019
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Three years after the bill was put forward by Labour leader Brendan Howlin, revenge porn and ‘upskirting’ are finally set to be outlawed in Ireland. Here’s everything we know so far…


Revenge porn, or the sharing of sexually explicit imagery online without the subject’s consent, has become increasingly common over the past decade.

Often carried out by ex-partners or scorned lovers, revenge porn is usually shared to upset and embarrass the person involved. It’s been made easy by social media, internet accessibility and a lack of regulation – but that’s soon to be a thing of the past.

The bill

Today, justice minister Charlie Flanagan is set to meet with Cabinet to approve legislation which will effectively make revenge porn illegal. It comes three years after the bill was originally put forward by Labour leader, Brendan Howlin.

Writing on its Twitter page, the Labour party said, “We need to have harassment laws fit for the digital age to cover cyber-bullying and revenge porn”.

When passed, the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences bill could make revenge porn punishable by up to six months in prison, as well as a potentially hefty fine of up to €5,000.

Today’s meeting, which is happening in Cork’s City Hall, will also look at the issue of ‘upskirting’; which involves taking unauthorised photos or videos of a person’s crotch when they’re wearing a skirt, dress or kilt.

Before the bill is approved, it’s expected the government will make a number of amendments to it. For example, Brendan Howlin’s proposed prison sentence of seven years will probably be reduced to six months.

Online harassment

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio programme, political correspondent Paul Cunningham said today’s discussions will also look at the issues of online stalking and harassment.

It seems the government plans to broaden the legal definition of communications so that it’s in line with modern technology.

Going forward, the offence of harassment will likely include all forms of communication; whether it’s verbal, written or electronic. This means that everything from text messages to tweets could be used as a means for harassment.

If you have been affected by revenge porn or upskirting, advice can be found at WomensAid.ie.

Photo: Unsplash


Read more: Sexual harassment issues in work have ‘surged’ by almost 200%

Read more: #ThisIsNotConsent: Our tops are too low, our skirts are too short, our niceties are seduction

Read more: ‘Fear is a part of daily life’ for young Irish women