Sexting is a growing problem for teens
TEEN girls are being bullied and pressurised after 'sexting' which is becoming a growing problem in secondary schools.
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has created a new module to help teach girls about the dangers of sexual violence - including sexting.
The Centre will roll out the module as part of its BodyRight Programme to second level schools and other "youth reach settings".
Over 300 guidance councillors and mental health workers will be involved in the scheme.
"Sexting is growing and increasingly prevalent. Vulnerable young girls are being pressurised into sharing images which can then be used in an exploitative way," said Leonie O'Dowd from the Centre.
"The youngsters don't really understand the implications or the consequences of their actions, either for themselves or for their friends."
She said that girls are often bullied after they send the explicit images.
"Some kids use it as a form of bullying. These intimate images can have a severe impact on those involved for the rest of their lives," Ms O'Dowd said.
Primarily such 'sexts' are sent using mobile phones or social messaging applications and many victims of the phenomenon are unaware that they are in fact victims of sexual violence.
"They share intimate photos of themselves, usually with someone they think they can trust and are in a relationship with," Ms O'Dowd said.
"But sadly they are often forwarded on and many other individuals may see them.
"We believe it is a form of sexual violence, if somebody shares an image in a relationship of trust and that image is then circulated without consent."
She was speaking at the launch of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre's annual report which shows a "disturbing increase" in sexual violence last year.
Over 12,000 calls were answered by its 24-hour helpline in 2013 - the highest figure since 2009.
Some 43pc of calls related to adult rape.