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Wider efforts needed to combat image based abuse and online harassment - Pa Daly TD

4 December, 2020 - by Pa Daly TD

Patrick DalySinn Féin Law Reform, Integration and Equality spokesperson Pa Daly has welcomed the passage of the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill to report stage.

But the Kerry TD cautioned that more needs to be done to address issues of image based abuse and online harassment.

Teachta Daly said: “There was a welcome all party approach to the bill at committee stage, and I am satisfied progress is being made.

“The bill will criminalize a great number of unacceptable acts that threaten the peace and privacy of vulnerable individuals, the majority of whom are young women. 

“There is a need for wider efforts to combat these issues beyond the scope of the criminal law, which often has very specific standards for progressing matters to trial and for garnering prosecutions.

“In particular, victims should be able to request immediate takedowns of materials from internet providers, social media companies and other platforms. The support of specially trained staff able to process these requests and compel takedowns would do much on this front.

“My colleague Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire's Digital Safety Commissioner Bill was making progress through the Dáil but the government previously reset the clock by bringing its own bill.

"The haste the Minister for Justice has shown on the bill is important but there needs to be adequate and specialised resources provided to enforce takedown requests. A Digital Safety Commissioner could address this, and I would call on the government to act on the matter."

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