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When intimate photos end up online

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where intimate photos or video of you have ended up online, take back control by following these steps.

Why did this happen in the first place?

Situations like this happen because people share images and videos with people they trust. Then, one person in the interaction shares them round school/college or the internet. Unfortunately, this is one of the more common causes of intimate images getting out into the public domain.

>>Read Sexting for more

In some cases, ex-partners have shared a sexy photo or videos to get revenge, now known as “revenge porn”. In other cases phones are hacked, or stolen, and pictures and videos are shared, or images or videos are taken of a person without their knowledge.

Things to know

If this happens to you is not your fault and you’ve done nothing to be ashamed of. The person who breached your privacy and trust is the one who should be ashamed.

You may find it embarrassing but you should really talk to someone about this for support. This is a very troubling thing to go through and you will need support and you shouldn’t try to go through it on your own.

How do I get naked photos removed?

If you find yourself in a situation where intimate images or video are online without your consent, it’s really important to tell someone what’s happened.

Firstly, notify the website hosting the material. There could be complaint button or facility if it’s a social network, or if it’s a porn site contact the publisher/management of the site. Let them know it happened without your permission and is a breach of your privacy.

Then if you know who shared it originally contact them and demand they provide you with a list of everyone/or site they have sent these to.

Take screenshots of what you do see that is online without your consent and also of all your complaints and requests of sites and individuals for a record.

Where the law lies

Unfortunately, there currently is no law in Ireland covering this type of violation. There are laws in England and Wales since 2015 but there is limited scope for prosecuting cyber harassment crimes of this kind right now in Ireland.

However, if you do find intimate imagery of you without your consent, it is an invasion of your privacy rights under the constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Where you can and feel up to taking a record of each instance, make a report to the Gardai. Although there are no laws yet in Ireland, there are discussions and it is under review. There are groups in Ireland lobbying for laws to be passed like Women’s Aid, so hopefully one will be passed soon, so having a record will help.

The Gardai can also support you in contacting the website if you have any trouble or they are not responding.

If you were under 18 years-old when the photos were taken

In this case the person who did this has broken the law, because you were underage. Even someone keeping them on their phone/computer counts as “possession”.  The person sharing it by sending to a friend or posting it online is considered “distribution”. Possession or distribution by anyone of child pornography is a criminal offence.

  • Report the imagery to the website hosting this content letting them know the situation and untag yourself if possible
  • Contact the person who shared the image initially and ask them to take it down. Get them to provide you with a list of everyone/or site they have sent these to.
  • Threaten them with the Gardai if they don’t do this straight away.
  • Do tell your parents  about this, you may we worried about how they’ll react but they will want to support you.

This article was last reviewed on 08 March 2017

What can I do now?

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