‘Threat to Share’ Awareness Campaign on Intimate Image Abuse Launched
The Minister for Justice, Simon Harris TD, launched an awareness campaign, ‘Threat to Share’, highlighting that threatening to share intimate images of another person is a crime with potentially serious consequences.
The ‘Serious Consequences’ campaign – which will run on TV, cinema, local and national radio, digital and social media – seeks to empower victims by making them aware of the legislation and protections available.
Minister Harris said, “fulfilling one of the actions in the Zero Tolerance Strategy we launch a new awareness campaigns to make people aware of this legislation, to make people aware that threatening to share intimate images is illegal, as well as being a reprehensible act. We know that threatening to share intimate imagery can be a feature of coercive control, for example, in relationships.”
“We also know that it is a threat that can be used purely for monetary or financial gain. Whatever a person’s motivation for threatening to share an intimate image of another person, it is a crime through Coco’s Law which Minister McEntee enacted in 2021 and which is now seen across Europe as a pioneering piece of legislation. Research carried out on behalf of my Department shows that half the population does not know that this is illegal. We want to change that.”
In September 2021, following on from the commencement of Coco’s Law (the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020), the Department of Justice launched the first phase of a campaign to raise awareness of intimate image abuse and to better inform people of the strong legislation in place to combat it.
The first phase focused on the sharing of intimate images without consent and highlighted that this is a criminal offence regardless of the motivation for doing so. It also provided information for victims about reporting it to An Garda Síochána for investigation and/or to Hotline.ie to have the image(s) taken down from the internet.
Phase two of the campaign focuses on raising awareness that it is illegal to threaten to share an intimate image of another person. The assets seek to ensure victims are aware of the protections available to them, but they are focused on the actions of the perpetrator.
Minister Harris explained, “last June, my Department launched Zero Tolerance, our third national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender based violence. It is an ambitious five-year programme of reform to achieve a society which does not accept DSGBV or the attitudes which underpin it.”
“We know the importance of criminal justice, of strong legislation, of reporting, of supports for victims and of a co-ordinated approach in our work with victims – and we are working hard on initiatives in each of those areas. But I believe the fundamental weapon we have in the fight against domestic, sexual and gender based violence is, and will always be, prevention. It is that huge piece of work around change in attitudes and social norms as to what is acceptable in Irish society. Threatening to share intimate images of someone is not acceptable.”
Alongside the main ‘Serious Consequences’ assets for TV, radio and cinema focused on the fallout for a perpetrator, Craig, from threatening to share intimate images, there is a separate asset which is victim-based. It approximates a WhatsApp conversation between a man threatening to share intimate images and his former partner who repeatedly asks him not to before – empowered by her knowledge of the law – contacting An Garda Síochána.