Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South Fiona O’Loughlin says new legislation is urgently needed to combat the huge problem of so-called revenge porn which is the cause of huge distress to victims.

Revenge porn involves the publication of explicit pictures or videos posted on the internet without the consent of the subject.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “The Law Reform Commission in Ireland has linked revenge porn to serious psychological harm for the person involved as the aim is to humiliate and degrade the victim. Gardaí are reporting a significant increase in the number of victims of this crime, particularly young people.

“Ireland is behind the curve in dealing with this phenomenon as we currently have no legislation in place to address revenge porn. The offence comes under the definition of harassment in the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act of 1997. This legislation is completely outdated as it was enacted before the advent of smart phones and social media.

“New legislation is currently in a consultation period at the Department of Justice and new laws will hopefully come into effect this year which will make it illegal to intentionally post intimate images of a person online without their consent.

“Loopholes in our current legislation need to be closed to address unfortunate modern realities such as cyberstalking and revenge porn. We need to act now to ensure our laws are up to date and can efficiently prosecute offenders. Until the law is passed, victims remain unprotected, meaning people should be very cautious about sending intimate photos online.

“The Women’s Aid website is a useful resource to consult for information about revenge porn. They also have a Freephone helpline on 1800 341 900,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.