A Bill aimed at criminalising the distribution of intimate images without consent has been signed into law.
A tweet from the President of Ireland said that "having considered the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017, President Higgins has today signed the Bill and it has accordingly become law".
It means there are now two new offences to deal with the non-consensual distribution of intimate images with a penalty of an unlimited fine and/or up to seven years in prison.
Having considered the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017, President Higgins has today signed the Bill and it has accordingly become law.— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) December 28, 2020
It creates an offence that deals with the taking, distribution, publication or threat to distribute intimate images without consent, and with intent to cause harm to the victim and will carry a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and/or seven years' imprisonment.
The second offence will deal with the taking, distribution or publication of intimate images without consent without a requirement that the person intended to cause harm to the victim and will carry an offence of a maximum penalty of a €5,000 fine and/or 12 months in prison.
It is irrelevant that a person may have consented to the taking of an image if it is subsequently published or distributed without their consent.
It will be an aggravating factor for the purposes of sentencing if the perpetrator of the offence is or was in an intimate relationship with the victim of the offence.
The Bill, also known as Coco's Law after Nicole Fox who died by suicide following years of online bullying, was first brought to the Dáil in 2017 by Labour's Brendan Howlin who said the legislation will "make the internet a safer place".
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that taking or sharing intimate images without consent is abuse and "will not be tolerated".