Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty has called for the immediate creation of a dedicated and permanent Garda helpline after allegations that a large number of private images, mainly of young Irish women, have been shared online without permission.
Senator Doherty said, “Reports began circulating this week about a massive amount of private images, possibly over 10,000, being shared in online forums.
“It is being suggested that these images were collected and shared without the knowledge of the people in the photos, some of whom have been reported to be under 18. Not only is this a massive breach of privacy and trust of those involved, it is also incredibly dangerous. Publication of images like these in the past have led to immense harm being done to the young women who are the victims.
“While there is a massive need for legislation in this area, and the new ‘Harassment, Harmful Communications, and Related Offences Bill’ will be before the Justice Committee next month, it is welcome that An Garda Síochana have “commenced probative enquiries” into this specific publication.
“I believe an accompanying helpline should be set up for those who believe they may be a victim in this case or any similar, and all necessary supports should be made available to victims and those who have been assisting by trawling through forums and files in an effort to stop the sharing and protect the victims.
“To those who think it is fun or harmless to share images like these without someone’s permission, let me say this, it is dangerous. Your actions could have deadly consequences and I urge you to think before pressing send,” Senator Doherty concluded.