The Justice Minister has committed to introducing laws to tackle image based sexual abuse.
It's after thousands of sexual images of Irish women were leaked from a private forum without their permission.
Helen McEntee says she is " determined to act " on the issue and "ensure that anyone who shares these kinds of images will face serious criminal sanctions."
In a series of tweets this morning the Minister says she's working alongside Labour to enact the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill.
It's due to come back before the Dáil next week.
The measures I will bring to Cabinet will make it a criminal offence to share intimate images without consent. This is not just about revenge porn - sharing such images will become a criminal offence, regardless of the motivation of the person who passes them on.
— Helen McEntee TD (@HMcEntee) November 20, 2020
We Don't Have Appropriate Ways Of Responding Yet - ICCL
The Irish Council of Civil Liberties agrees, that this must be a criminal act.
ICCL spokesperson Doireann Ansbro says those responsible need to be prosecuted:
"We consider this image based sexual abuse."
"It needs to be responded to appropriately and adequately."
However, Doireann adds that, "Unfortunately at the moment we don't have the appropriate laws in place."
"We need to make sure that this kind of image based sexual abuse is considered a crime and can be prosecuted."
Thousands of images and videos, mainly of Irish women, and including underage girls, are being maliciously shared without consent on online forums and in private messaging groups.
I am calling on the Minister for Justice to act now to protect victims. pic.twitter.com/uVyfqeU53s
— Holly Cairns TD (@HollyCairnsTD) November 19, 2020
Image Based Sexual Abuse Is "Deeply Troubling"
Meanwhile the Irish Council for Civil Liberties also says it's 'deeply troubled' by the situation.
It's calling on TDs to update Irish laws in this scenario.
That is after the pictures of Irish women, including some underage girls were leaked without their permission.
Additionally, the ICCL says the creation or distribution of private sexual images without consent is image-based sexual abuse.
Finally, Doireann Ansbro says new legislation to be discussed at the start of next month must ensure it's treated as a crime:
"Now there is a law coming before the Oireachtas in the next couple of weeks."
"On the first of December is when it'll be discussed."
"But we need to make sure that law, which seeks to outlaw the sharing of intimate images, is done in a way that reflects the fact that this is a sexual offence."