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Woman gets safety order against ex after threats to post 'revenge porn' online

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DRCC chief Noeline Blackwell

DRCC chief Noeline Blackwell

DRCC chief Noeline Blackwell

A judge has granted court protection to a woman whose ex-partner is threatening to post intimate videos and photos of her on Facebook.

At the family law court in Ennis, Co Clare, Judge Patrick Durcan granted the woman a two-year safety order against the man.

The woman told the judge that she is currently in fear for her safety.

In a statement to the court, she said the man is constantly sending her text messages and phoning her. Although she has blocked him on her phone, she says he keeps getting a new phone number.

The woman also found that the boiler in her house had been tampered with and that the man is following her every day.

The man is blackmailing her, she said, "and has intimate photos and videos of me and is threatening to put them up on Facebook".

The man was not in court to contest the application for the order and Judge Durcan granted the safety order for two years.

Last May, the Cabinet approved measures to make so-called 'revenge porn' a specific criminal offence.

However, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) chief executive Noeline Blackwell yesterday expressed disappointment that the proposed legislation had not become law before the General Election was called.

Inadequate

The current sexual harassment laws were "totally inadequate to deal with this form of abuse" as they require a pattern of behaviour, Ms Blackwell said.

"And that doesn't cover one lethal uploading online that can have devastating consequences for the person who didn't give her or his consent," she added.

In England and Wales there are specific laws to deal with the unauthorised sharing of intimate images online, she noted.

She said that she hopes that the new government will proceed to enact the legislation.

Asked should those individuals who commit so-called 'revenge porn' be jailed, Ms Blackwell said that the unauthorised sharing is another form of abuse and sentencing should be in line with sentencing for other abuse offences.

The DRCC was one of a number of bodies to make a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality on the issue of online harassment and harmful communications last October.

A Bill on the 'revenge porn' issue put forward by the Labour Party in 2017 proposed a six-month prison term.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said that Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan proposed a number of significant amendments designed to strengthen the proposals.

He said that the Government subsequently approved the drafting of these amendments, which would include introducing a distinct offence of stalking and provide for two offences to deal with non-consensual recording and distribution of intimate images, including so-called 'revenge pornography'.

Penalties of up to seven years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fines would be provided for in the draft legislation.