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Hotline.ie uses the term "child sexual abuse material" (CSAM) or "child sexual abuse imagery" (CSAI) to convey the gravity and severity of these crimes against children, whilst challenging any notion that such acts may be carried out pursuant to the consent of the child (a person under the age of 18 years).

Definition of "Child Sexual Abuse Material (Child Pornography)"

In Ireland, the sexual abuse, sexual coercion and sexual exploitation of children are offences under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 as amended by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, and are often referred to by the legal term "child pornography". Under Irish law "child pornography is defined as:

"(a) any visual representation—
(i) that shows, or in the case of a document relates to, a person who is or is depicted as being a child and who is engaged in or is depicted as being engaged in real or simulated sexually explicit activity,
(ii) that shows, or in the case of a document relates to, a person who is or is depicted as being a child and who is or is depicted as witnessing any such activity by any person or persons, or
(iii) that shows, for a sexual purpose, the genital or anal region of a child or of a person depicted as being a child,".
(b) any audio representation of a person who is or is represented as being a child and who is engaged in or is represented as being engaged in explicit sexual activity,
(c) any visual or audio representation that advocates, encourages or counsels any sexual activity with children, or
(d) any visual representation or description of, or information relating to, a child that indicates or implies that the child is available to be used for the purpose of sexual exploitation,
irrespective of how or through what medium the representation, description or information has been produced, transmitted or conveyed and, (…), includes any representation, description or information produced by or from computer-graphics or by any other electronic or mechanical means."

Examples of content that would constitute child sexual abuse material:

  • any visual representation depicting a child in sexually explicit poses;
  • any form of sexual touching involving a child;
  • any content displaying solo masturbation by a child;
  • non-penetrative or penetrative sexual activity involving children or both children and adults;
  • sadistic sexual subjugation or bestiality involving a child.
  • non-photographic content depicting sexual abuse of a child (such as cartoons, digitally-generated imagery etc.);
  • text (e.g. stories) describing the sexual abuse of a child.

The following examples should act as a non-exhaustive list of activities which are illegal under Irish legislation.

It is a crime to:

  • engage in any form of sexual activity with a child;
  • engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child, in a place observable by a child, or when knowing or believing that a child is aware, or when intending that a child should be aware that the person is engaging in sexual activity, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification or corrupting or depraving the child;
  • expose a child to watch pornography and/or any sexually explicit acts involving adults and/or children;
  • produce, facilitate the production, distribute, transmit, disseminate, print, publish, import, export, sell, show, supply or make available "child pornography";
  • advertise, by any means, that the advertiser or any other person produces, distributes, transmits, disseminates, prints, publishes, imports, exports, sells, shows, supplies or makes available any "child pornography";
  • acquire, possess, or obtain via information and communication technology "child pornography";
  • invite, coerce, counsel, or induce a child under the age of 15 to engage in/or observe sexually explicit acts or sexual touching;
  • meet, obtain or provide a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation;
  • attend a live pornographic performance involving a child, including attendance via the use of information and communication technology.

Privacy statement

This Privacy Statement explains the who, what, when, where and why in respect of the personal data we process.

Quick Navigation:

Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with this Privacy Statement.

1. Our approach to personal data processing

Hotline.ie is a registered business name of the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland CLG (registered company no. 285632), non-for-profit organisation.

Hotline.ie works to eliminate online child sexual abuse imagery, disrupt the cycle of online child sexual exploitation and prevent repeat-victimisation of child victims and survivors. Hotline.ie procedures and operations are approved and overseen by the Department of Justice and Equality and An Garda Síochána.

Hotline.ie would not be able to fulfil its mission without the public's vigilance and readiness to report suspect images/videos of children or other forms of suspected illegal content online within the Hotline.ie remit.

We highly value the support received from the public; our members, partners and stakeholders and we take your personal data privacy very seriously. We are fully committed to compliance with applicable data protection laws and we keep up-to-date with legislation changes.

Why does Hotline.ie collect and store data

We collect, process and store personal information in order to carry out our core business and ancillary activities.

To the extent that it is personal data, in most cases we collect information that is given to us by you, either through the submission of a non-anonymous report (through the use of Hotline.ie web-reporting forms, email, TAM or post); membership application; recruitment e.g. if you choose to apply for a role with Hotline.ie; information with a view to forming a business relationship. Any information that you provide to us is used by Hotline.ie solely for the purpose for which it was provided. We collect personal details in respect of:

  1. prospective, current and past directors, board members, employees, consultants
  2. current, prospective and past members of Hotline.ie, including registration information
  3. supplier contacts to support our services
  4. personal details included with the submission of a non-anonymous report to Hotline.ie

NOTE: For the avoidance of doubt, victim identification is not within our remit, it is a matter for law enforcement alone.

We use information held about you in the following ways:

  1. to carry out our obligations arising from contracts we enter, have entered or intend to enter into;
  2. to demonstrate regulatory compliance with appropriate bodies
  3. where necessary in the field of employment law
  4. to provide you with a response to your query or follow-up on your non-anonymous report (if required by you)
  5. to provide you with information and services that you request from us or we think will be of interest to you as deemed relevant to your business;
  6. to ensure Members' compliance with Hotline.ie Code of Practice
  7. where we need to bring or defend legal claims

The lawful bases under GDPR:

  1. Legitimate business interests
  2. Consent – you've explicitly consented to your personal data being processed for a specific purpose.
  3. Performance of a contract – a contract is in place with an individual/organisation and certain legal terms and conditions apply.
  4. To comply with a legal obligation – we may be subject to a legal obligation to process certain personal information.
  5. To protect vital interests – if there is an immediate risk to someone's health and safety, we may need to process their personal data.
  6. Performance of a task carried out in the public interest – much of our core work is carried out for this reason as it is in the public interest to eliminate child sexual abuse material from the Internet.

In processing reports submitted to Hotline.ie for the fulfilment of our remit and to the extent that this is personal data, we are doing so for reasons of substantial public interest and for preventing the availability and spread of child sexual abuse images/videos which are documented evidence of a crime being committed, a child being sexually exploited and often actually raped. The Hotline.ie service is provided under special agreement with Government and law enforcement.

Please note that GDPR requires us to minimise the data we keep unless it's required for the provision of a service or for existing legal requirements (such as Revenue), therefore we use all reasonable efforts to keep your data only for as long as it's needed for the original purpose we collected it.

We will keep your personal data secure and confidential and will only use it for the purposes intended. At no time will we sell your personal data.

Once we receive your personal data, we will employ appropriate physical and technical measures to secure your data, including staff training and awareness. To this end, Hotline.ie has put technological (e.g. SSL technology and encryption whenever possible to reduce the impact of any potential incidents) and organisational controls, including policies and procedures, in place to protect your personal data from loss, misuse, alteration or unintentional destruction. We also use all reasonable efforts to ensure that when we outsource any processes, the service provider has appropriate security measures in place. All our processes and measures are reviewed regularly and changed/updated as required.

Please note that no communications over the Internet can be guaranteed as entirely secure. We cannot guarantee the security of the information that you disclose using your Internet connection. You accept the inherent security implications of using the Internet. We will not accept liability for any direct, consequential, incidental, indirect or punitive losses or damages arising from your use of online communications. Also, once data reaches your network it is your responsibility to ensure it remains secure.

A cookie is a small text file that is sent to your computer's hard drive when you visit a website. A cookie typically contains the name of the website from which it has come, the lifespan of the cookie and a value. The value is usually a unique code that will only make sense to the website that has issued it. Cookies can also be used to measure how people use websites and what kind of browsers or devices they're using.

www.hotline.ie does not use Cookies to keep any information relating to website usage by users and we do not make any attempt to try to identify users or their browsing activities.

Links to other websites

We do our utmost to protect user privacy through the appropriate use of security technology: we ensure that we have appropriate physical and technological security measures to protect your information; and we ensure that when we outsource any processes, the service provider has appropriate security measures.

Please note that our website contains links to other websites owned and operated by third parties. These third-party websites have their own Privacy Policy. We bear no responsibility or liability for the privacy practices of such third party websites and we urge you to review the Privacy Policy or Notice of any website you may access through our website.

3. Reporting suspected illegal content online to Hotline.ie (making a report)

The Hotline.ie website is HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure), which means the information is encrypted all the way from the reporter's device to the Hotline web-server so that no one "in between" can read it.

Reports can be made to www.hotline.ie either anonymously (your name or contact information is not required in order to submit a report) OR by manually opting-in to make a non-anonymous report submission (include contact details).

If you make an anonymous report submission to Hotline.ie – through our online reporting form(s)

If you opt to make an anonymous report submission, you can do so without providing any personally identifiable information and please know that we do not attempt to collect such information via cookies/scripts, nor track the IP address and location of the device used to submit a report.

If you opt to make a NON-anonymous report submission to Hotline.ie – through our online reporting form(s)

In the event that you wish to receive a report acknowledgement or to be contacted about your query, you will have to opt for a non-anonymous report submission. Subsequently we will require at least your name and email address. Personally identifiable information submitted to www.hotline.ie when making a non-anonymous report will be stored in our secure database. Please note that by providing your contact details to us, you consent to us storing them for the above mentioned purpose.

We do not pass on personal details to law enforcement without a court order or your express written permission. Please note that in very rare circumstances it may be necessary or advisable for us to disclose your details, if we are legally obliged to; or to protect the rights, property or safety of Hotline.ie, our members or others. In such cases we regard the disclosure to be either in the public interest, or as a legitimate interest for the purpose of preventing the spread of child sexual abuse material.

Important to note: Once your NON-anonymous report has been investigated and closed, your contact data is automatically deleted within 90 days. Please be aware that if you make more than one NON-anonymous report with the same details, each instance of reporting starts that three month retention period again. Therefore, if you do not wish for your details to be retained for that period following each report you may prefer to go back a step and report anonymously.

If you make a report submission to Hotline.ie via email

It is more efficient for Hotline.ie to process reports made using our web-reporting form(s). We prefer to receive reports via the web-reporting forms, as these are designed to request relevant technical details based on e.g. where the content was encountered, suspicion, URL (link) how to access the content being reported etc., key in the assessment process. Moreover, the web-reporting forms have integrated help boxes that will guide you through the steps or provide further details.

Please only use the email address provided on the website (Contact Us page) if for some reason you believe our web-reporting forms are unsuitable.

Please note that when you email Hotline.ie your email service automatically includes your email address with the message. If you do indeed wish to proceed with the submission of a report via email, you are consenting to us storing personally identifiable information that is being provided. This information will be held in our secure database while the reported material is being investigated. Once the report has been investigated and closed, the contact data is automatically deleted within 90 days. We do not pass on personal details to law enforcement without a court order or your express written permission. If you do not wish for your details to be retained for that period you may prefer to instead submit a report anonymously through our web-reporting forms.

4. Hotline.ie Members and our Partnerships

Hotline.ie Members

If your organisation chooses to join our Membership, our team will be in touch to explain the details they’ll need from you that will be used to communicate with you in the delivery of our services. Key to this, for example, will be the information that you submit when you complete the Membership Application form and return it to membership@hotline.ie or via post to our office address, which would include, inter alia, contact details (names, phone numbers and work email addresses) of your designated team members so that we can successfully work together.

In processing this information with a view to forming a business relationship we’re initially processing the data with a legitimate business interest. In working with any third parties we ensure robust due diligence is carried out, and formal arrangement are in place to ensure the security and confidentiality of any personal data that may be processed in working with them.

Partnerships

Transnational crime such as online child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation requires coordinated national and international multi-stakeholder approach. We work in partnership with a number of highly regarded and varied organisations across the world for the purpose of combatting online child sexual abuse. For example we work with: Government, An Garda Síochána and international law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL, Internet Industry [online service providers], other NGOs, INHOPE – the International Association of Internet Hotlines and INHOPE member hotlines engaged in combatting online child sexual abuse material.

These partnerships come in many forms and are managed through a mix of formal agreements, legal contracts, initiatives and collaborations. Be assured that where personal data (including that of our staff or any contractor(s) working on our behalf) is processed in order to carry out any such partnership, it is done securely and within the confines of the law.

At national level – for example – Hotline.ie is part of the Irish Safer Internet Centre

The Irish Safer Internet Centre is a consortium of Industry, education, child welfare and Government partners, providing a range of functions and activities to make the Internet a safer and more positive environment for children and young people. Webwise, PDST Technology in Education provides the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Hub; Hotline.ie provides the primary national channel where the public can securely, anonymously and confidentially report suspected illegal content online, especially child sexual abuse and activities relating to the sexual exploitation of children in a way; ISPCC – Childline – provides 24 hours confidential Helpline service for all children up to 18 years; while NPC provides Helpline service to parents and guardians. The Department of Justice and Equality, is the Project Coordinator. Since 2008 the partnership has been appointed by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre for Ireland and is one of 30 Safer Internet Centres in Europe.

Further information about our Irish Safer Internet partners and their Privacy Policy can be found on their websites.

At international level – for example – we are one of the founding members of INHOPE, the International Association of Internet Hotlines

INHOPE is a membership organisation uniting 47 Internet hotlines from across the globe (incl. Hotline.ie). INHOPE’s mission is to support and enhance the work of hotlines by managing a secure international report management system (ICCAM) which enables efficient and secure processing of illegal content between hotlines in different jurisdictions. The ICCAM platform is managed by INHOPE in collaboration with INTERPOL and developed with funding from the European Union. Additionally, INHOPE establishes policies and best practice standards for hotline operations (e.g. technical safeguards) and ensures they are uniformly applied by existing and new member hotlines. INHOPE is also responsible for expanding the network of trust by supporting the establishment of new hotlines particularly in countries where there would appear to be a need for hotline service.

Further information about INHOPE and their Privacy Policy can be found on their website.

5. Recruitment and employees

If you choose to apply for a role with Hotline.ie you may be asked to complete a standardised application form in addition to your CV. Within the application form you will be asked for your name and contact details. We will also ask for your prior employment experience, education, referees and we’ll ask that you answer specific questions regarding the role you’re applying for. All the information you provide during the recruitment process will only be used for the purpose of progressing your application or to fulfil legal or regulatory requirements if necessary.

The information will be accessible to our recruitment team and will not be made available to anyone outside of our recruitment team. Our recruitment team will be in touch with shortlisted applicants to make arrangements for any interviews and to discuss the format that these may take. We do not collect more information than we need to fulfil our stated purpose and will not retain it for longer than necessary. Successful candidates will be requested to provide the necessary information for payroll processing and payment purpose along with emergency contact details, so we know who to contact in case you have an emergency at work.

We retain data with respect to our current employees to allow us to fulfil our requirements of their employment contract and relevant legal obligations.

We retain data with respect to former employees for a period of six years following the end of their contract in case of reference requests. This information will subsequently be appropriately and securely disposed of, unless otherwise required for example details retained for pension purpose.

Personal information from unsuccessful candidates will be retained for a maximum of six months following closure of the job posting in case of queries after which time it will be appropriately and securely disposed of.

6. Communications

Aside from the www.hotline.ie website, our primary channel of communication with the general public, interested parties and stakeholders is our social media feed via Twitter (@Hotline_ie), where we post articles, news, snippets of information that we feel could be of interest.

It is the responsibility of users of sites such as Twitter to maintain their own personal privacy settings. As the controller of our social media account(s) we reserve the right to have abusive or offensive content by users blocked or removed and will report any such behaviour to the social network at hand.

Where links to third party websites are provided we cannot be held responsible for the privacy of data collected by those sites. You should always consult each website’s respective Privacy Notice or Policy if you have any concerns or would like further information.

7. Your rights

Subject to Section 60 of the Data Protection Act, 2018 and any associated Regulations, the GDPR specifies the following rights for data subjects:

  • right to be informed
  • right of access to your personal information
  • right of rectification to your personal information
  • right of erasure to your personal information
  • right to restrict data processing
  • right to data portability
  • right to object to processing of your personal information
  • right in relation to automated decision making and profiling [we do not undertake automated decision making or profiling]

If you make a request relating to any of the rights listed above, we will consider each request in accordance with all applicable data protection laws and regulations and respond in the first instance within one month of receipt.

No administration fee will be charged for considering and / or complying with such a request unless the request is deemed to be excessive in nature. If a complex request is received, we may need to extend the period to a further two months in order to respond appropriately. We will inform you of the reasoning behind any extension.

Upon successful verification of your identity you are entitled to obtain the following information about your own personal information:

  • the purposes of the collection, processing, use and storage of your personal data
  • the source(s) of the personal information, if it was not obtained from you
  • the categories of personal data stored about you
  • the recipients or categories of recipients to whom your personal data has been or may be transmitted, along with the location of those recipients
  • the envisaged period of storage for your personal data or the rationale for determining the storage period.

Should you wish to exercise any of your rights please contact us at datasubject.request@hotline.ie or by writing to:

Hotline.ie
25 Sandyford Office Park
Blackthorn Avenue
Dublin
D18 XN28
Ireland

Please be aware that during the Covid-19 pandemic there is a reduced workforce in our office therefore online contact is recommended to ensure a swift response to your query.

You have the right to lodge a complaint directly with the Data Protection Commission if you believe your data has not been processed in the stated way or in accordance with GDPR. You can contact the Data Protection Commission +353 (0)761 104 800 or +353 (0)57 868 4800. For more details on how to contact the Data Protection Commission please visit their website.

8. Personal data breaches

The GDPR defines a personal data breach as "a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed".

We take any suspicion of a personal data breach seriously and will fully investigate. In accordance with GDPR, the Data Protection Commission will be notified without undue delay if we believe a breach has occurred, and depending on the circumstance, also contact those who may be impacted. Where we feel it necessary in the event of a breach, we may employ an independent consultant or advisor to investigate the matter on our behalf.

9. Changes to this Privacy Statement

We reserve the right to make changes to this Privacy Statement. Each time you visit our website we would encourage you to check that no changes have been made to any sections that are important to you. This Privacy Statement was last updated in December 2020.

Intimate Image Abuse (IIA) frequently asked questions

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide an overview of key issues and terminology relating to non-consensual sharing of intimate images also referred to as intimate image abuse (IIA).

Please note: The contents of the FAQs are for general information and guidance purposes only and do not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.


What is the law around sharing intimate images without consent?

The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020 came into force in February 2021. It provisions for two new offences dealing with the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
  1. The first offence deals with the distribution or publication, or threat to distribute or publish intimate images without consent, and with the intent to cause harm to the victim. It carries a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and/or seven years' imprisonment.
  2. The second offence deals with the taking, distribution or publication of intimate images without consent even if there is no specific intent to cause harm to the victim. It carries a maximum penalty of €5,000 fine and/or 12 months' imprisonment.

Does the law apply to minors?

The age of criminal responsibility in Ireland is 12 as per the Children Act 2001 (with an exception for very serious crimes). This means that the offences under the Harassment Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020 apply to children 12 years old and over.

The Act includes a provision as safeguard for minors under 17, namely that the Director of Public Prosecutions must consent to a prosecution being taken against a child under the age of 17.

What is meant by "consent"?

In general terms "consent" is when a person agrees or gives unambiguous permission to another person to do something. Consent should be expressed freely, voluntary and informed. In any given situation there should be room for the person consenting to say no and/or to change their mind.

The word "consent" will be given its ordinary meaning by a court. It will be a requirement to prove "non-consent" as an element of the offence if a prosecution is taken.

What is an intimate image or video?

The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020, defines an "intimate image" in relation to a person, as any visual representation, made by any means including any photographic, film, video or digital representation:

  • of what is, or purports to be the person's genitals, buttocks or anal region and, in the case of a female, her breasts,
  • of the underwear covering the person's genitals, buttocks or anal region and, in the case of a female, her breasts,
  • in which the person is nude, or
  • in which the person is engaged in sexual activity.

Examples of intimate image or video shared without consent include:

  • A person, for example, an ex-partner shares an intimate image of you on social media without your consent;
  • A person digitally alters (Photoshops) an image of you with an explicit image and shares it without your consent;
  • A person posting your intimate image on an adult "porn" website without your consent.

Is 'upskirting' or 'downblousing' covered with under the legislation?

Yes, recording an intimate image without consent is an offence under section 3 of the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020.

Why do people share intimate images without consent and why is it considered abuse?

People who share images without consent do so for many reasons.

  • Some may be upset with the victim (i.e. following a relationship break up) or wanting to humiliate, intimidate, control, coerce them. Others may do so for sexual gratification, to build social status or for monetary gain.
  • Intimate image abuse can also be part of a pattern of controlling and abusive behaviour in a domestic, family violence situation. In this case, the perpetrator deliberately tries to create fear, and/or shame.
  • Others could use intimate images to blackmail people for monetary gain (also commonly referred to as 'sextortion').

Whatever the reason, even if someone has consented to an intimate image or video being taken of them, sharing that image or video without their consent can never be justified.

Is intimate image abuse different to "revenge porn"?

"Revenge porn" does not adequately capture the very nature and cause of this type of abuse. This term is misleading as it may, among other things:

  • imply the person responsible for sharing the intimate image without the victim's consent is a former partner that may have been wronged – whilst people who share intimate images without consent do so for many reasons and some may not even know the victim;
  • imply the victim has done something wrong and deserves "revenge" – but no one deserves to experience this form of abuse;
  • liken the images to legal adult pornography in which adults have given expressed, voluntary and informed consent.

For those reasons and more we use the term 'intimate image abuse' instead.

What is sextortion, and is it a crime?

Sextortion is a form of blackmail where someone threatens to reveal or share intimate images of you online unless you give in to their demands. These demands are typically for money, but sometimes they could be for further intimate content or sexual favours.

Yes, it is a crime. Depending on the situation it could be intimate image abuse and/or online sexual coercion and extortion.

What if I sent an intimate images/video to a person in the first place, or we created them together?

By sharing your intimate image/video with someone, this does not mean that person has your consent to share it with others. Generally speaking consent should be a freely given "yes", whilst it should allow space to say "no" and to change your mind.

Would the sharing of intimate images without consent only refer to posting images on social media services and websites?

No, the Act covers all forms of online and offline communications that may be used to commit the offences within the scope of the Act, and subsequently cause harm to a person.

Who is at risk of intimate image abuse?

Intimate image abuse is more common that one might think, it impacts people no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background. Independent research, commissioned by the Department of Justice in April 2021, revealed among the findings that one in twenty adults surveyed disclosed to have had an intimate image of them shared without their consent. Furthermore, approx. one in ten adults aged 18-37 years.

Someone has shared an intimate image of me without my consent? What do I do?

If you have experienced intimate image abuse, the most important things to remember are that it is not your fault and you are not alone.

If the intimate image abuse is part of domestic violence or other abuse, staying safe is the number one priority.

If you are feeling unsafe now, call the Gardaí on 999 or 112.

Your safety is important to us. Before taking steps to get the intimate images shared without consent removed, make sure you have a safety plan in place; especially if the person responsible is also abusive offline.

If you do not already have a safety plan, you can contact organisations such as:

Safety planning is important to protect you in case the person responsible gets more abusive once the image or video is removed or the account is deleted.

Gardaí at your local Garda Station are always available to discuss your concerns in absolute confidence and provide whatever follow-up assistance/advice is required thereafter.

Additionally, Gardaí attached to your local Divisional Protective Services Unit (DPSU) will have experience in investigating offences occurring online. A DPSU has been established in each Garda Division countrywide. Your local Garda station will, on request, arrange for a DPSU Detective to make contact with you.

If an intimate image or video of you has been shared without your consent, you can report it to Hotline.ie at https://www.hotline.ie/report. Hotline.ie can help with reporting and removing the content online and, in some cases, liaising with An Garda Síochána, should you wish for it to be investigated by the Gardaí.

Before you report intimate image-based abuse, it is a good idea to keep a copy or screenshot of what you are experiencing, even though it is understandable that you might want to remove it as quickly as possible. This might help prove patterns of abuse and is could also prove useful when engaging with the Gardaí and the courts. It might also be useful should you wish to report the abuse or threatening behaviour to the social media service, App, website or other online service providers on which it was posted. It can help if you want the abusive user to be blocked from using that service.

This guidance is for collecting evidence of non-consensual intimate image sharing concerning adults. Be mindful that possessing, creating or sharing sexualised images of people under 18 constitutes a crime.

Although it is important to collect evidence, it is even more important that you stay safe. Make sure you collect evidence only when it is safe to do so and keep it somewhere safe.

How can Hotline.ie help?

If an intimate image or video of you has been shared without your consent, we can help with reporting and removing the content online and, in some cases, liaising with An Garda Síochána, should you wish for it to be investigated by Gardaí.

If you report an intimate image or video shared without your consent Hotline.ie may:

  • Approach the online service provider on your behalf and request the removal of the intimate image or video shared without your consent. Whilst we cannot guarantee removal of all images, we have exceptional partnerships with online service providers, and we will use all reasonable efforts to help you.
  • Help you find relevant resources.
  • Provide you with advice on how to gather the information about the image or video.
  • In some cases, help you make a formal complaint against the person responsible by liaising with An Garda Síochána on your behalf.

What we can't help with:

  • This Hotline.ie service is available to victims of non-consensual sharing of intimate images who reside in the Republic of Ireland. If you live outside Ireland, please visit our international resources page to find out where you may be able to get support depending on where you live.
  • Hotline.ie is unable to provide counselling or specialist emotional support. If you are a victim of intimate image abuse please find here a list of services in Ireland offering counselling or specialist emotional support that may be able to help.
  • Hotline.ie is unable to provide legal advice, here is a list of services in Ireland which offer specialist support to victims.
  • Hotline.ie cannot undertake criminal investigations.

For any urgent situation where you suspect a person may be in immediate danger please always report it directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

Who can make an intimate image abuse report to Hotline.ie?

You can report non-consensual sharing of intimate images, also commonly referred to as intimate image abuse, to Hotline.ie if:

  • you are the person in the intimate image or video;
  • you have been authorised by the person in the intimate image or video to make a report on their behalf;
  • you are a parent or guardian of a person who is under 18 years of age,
  • you are a parent or guardian of a person who is in a condition that makes them incapable of managing their own affairs

Please be aware that Hotline.ie can only take on reports of intimate images shared without consent if:

  • the person in the image lives in Ireland,
  • the person who is responsible lives in Ireland,
  • both the person in the image and the person who is responsible live in Ireland, or
  • otherwise the intimate image shared without consent is hosted in Ireland

For any urgent situation where you suspect a person may be in immediate danger please always report it directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the Free Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

If you live outside of Ireland, and the intimate image is hosted outside of Ireland please visit our international resources page to find out where you may be able to get support depending on where you live.

Can I make an anonymous intimate image abuse report to Hotline.ie?

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In submitting an intimate image abuse report to Hotline.ie you are not required to prove/validate your identity. However, it is important that we have a way of contacting you; particularly should you wish to take action against the person responsible.

You can submit a report to Hotline.ie in respect of intimate images shared without consent by only providing your email address. If you do not wish to use your regular email address, you may consider creating a new email address so you can communicate with us safely.

What information do I need to make an intimate image abuse report to Hotline.ie?

To submit a report to Hotline.ie in respect of an intimate image shared without consent, you will need to provide some key information, such as:

  • if you are making the report on someone's behalf, you generally need their permission; (Parents and guardians can make reports on behalf of children under 18)
  • a way that we can contact you safely;
    Whilst we respect your privacy, having no contact details may make it hard for Hotline.ie to take action on your behalf. We may need to contact you for further information in respect of your report. If you do not wish to use your regular email address, you may consider creating a new email address so you can communicate with us safely;
  • the URL (web address) of the content;
    Please note that it may be difficult to copy a web address if you use an App to view content, you may have to switch to a web browser such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer to copy the full web address.
  • the name of the website or social media service on which the intimate image was shared or posted;
  • as applicable details of any police involvement, for example if you have already lodge a complaint with An Garda Síochána;
  • any other information that may be relevant to your report, for example date/time of the incident; the more detail you include regarding the issue at hand the better.

What happens if the victim is under 18 years old?

People under 18 can make an intimate image abuse report to Hotline.ie, or have someone, like a parent, guardian or other trusted adult, make a report on their behalf.

It is a criminal offence to possess, produce, distribute, transmit, disseminate, post, publish, show or makes available by any means sexually explicit material (image, video, pseudo-photograph, drawing, etc.) of a child (person under 18 years of age).

When a victim of intimate image abuse is under 18 different laws (Acts) may apply, such as the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 as amended by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.

In Ireland, the sexual abuse, sexual coercion and sexual exploitation of children are offences under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 as amended by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, and are often referred to by the legal term "child pornography". For more information about child sexual abuse material please click here.

If you suspect to have come across child sexual abuse material online, please report it to Hotline.ie via our child sexual abuse material web-reporting form. Reports can be made anonymously. Every report matters and can make a tangible difference.

With each child sexual abuse reference (website, image, video, etc.) we remove from the Internet, there is one less instance of re-victimisation and a chance to give voice to an unidentified child who may be suffering in silence, often out of fear, often because they are too young to even speak.

What happens after I make an intimate image abuse report to Hotline.ie?

Each report we receive is assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all the information provided to us by the reporter. For this reason, it is very important that you provide as much information as you can in your report. If our Analysts need further information we will be in contact via your preferred contact method provided with your report submission i.e. the email address you have provided or telephone number.

  1. Once Hotline.ie receives your report, we will send an acknowledgement to the email address that you provided with your report submission. The acknowledgement email will include the report unique reference key. Over the course of managing the report we will keep you informed of actions and outcomes.
  2. Our Analysts will subsequently assess whether the report meets the criteria about who can report, whether there is a need for further information together with applicable actions.
  3. We will contact you if more information is needed. You can also contact us at any time to update us or ask a question. When contacting us you will be asked for your report unique reference key.
  4. Where we share information with a third party, it will generally be at your request or with your permission. The exception may be where we are concerned for your safety, or the safety of others, or we are required to disclose information by law. For more information please read our Privacy Statement.

How long will it take to hear from Hotline.ie following an intimate image abuse report submission?

You can expect to hear from us within 48 hours, but in many cases we will be in touch sooner.

Please note that the Hotline.ie reporting portal is available online 24/7/365, therefore a member of the public may report suspected illegal content encountered on the Internet at any time. However, the reports are received and assessed by Hotline.ie during normal working hours Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Should I simultaneously report the intimate imagery shared without my consent to the online service provider?

Many social media services and websites have taken a strong stand against harmful content online, including intimate image abuse and ought to remove intimate images that are reported to them. We can help with removal but if you prefer you can report images direct to these sites.

It is a good idea to keep a copy or screenshot of what you are experiencing, even though it is understandable that you might want to remove it as quickly as possible. This might help prove patterns of abuse and it could also prove useful if you decide to engage with the police and the courts on this matter. This guidance is for collecting evidence of non-consensual intimate image sharing concerning adults. Be mindful that possessing, creating or sharing sexualised images of people under 18 is a crime.

Your safety is important to us. If you are experiencing domestic violence, before taking steps to get the images removed, make sure you have a safety plan in place.

How can An Garda Síochána help with intimate image abuse (IIA) cases?

An Garda Síochána's role in IIA will be to conduct a criminal investigation where a complaint relating to IIA is made, and to secure all relevant evidence for use in any future court proceedings that may arise in connection to the IIA formal complaint made.

How do I report intimate image abuse cases directly to An Garda Síochána?

Any victim of intimate image abuse can contact their local Garda station to make a report. The reporting Garda will ask you to make a written statement of complaint in which you will be required to outline the circumstances that apply in your case, such as the nature of the content involved; how, where and when it was shared; and to confirm that it has been shared without your consent. The investigating Garda may need access to your electronic device in order to secure evidence relating to this offence and associated meta-data for use in future criminal proceedings.

Additionally, Gardaí attached to your local Divisional Protective Services Unit (DPSU) will have experience in investigating offences occurring online. You may wish to make contact directly with that unit for advice and to make a formal complaint. A DPSU has been established in each Garda Division countrywide. Your local Garda station will, on request, arrange for a DPSU Detective to make contact with you.

There are also online confidential phone-number options for reporting matters, including non-consensual sharing of intimate images, to An Garda Síochána. However, availing of these options may lead to a less rapid investigative response than will result from calling, in person, to your local Garda station. In cases of this type; evidence can be perishable and time is an important consideration.

What do I need to have / prepare when reporting intimate image abuse cases directly to An Garda Síochána?

If you are the person impacted by this behaviour and where it is possible to secure and you feel confident to do so; it would be helpful to screenshot/secure a copy of the intimate image shared without your consent, and any other visible features that are available - such as sender ID, date and time of sharing and platform upon which content was shared.

Why is it important to preserve evidence?

An Garda Síochána require all available evidence in order to ensure that your complaint can be thoroughly investigated. It is also a legal requirement in any subsequent criminal prosecution which may follow that all available evidence/other information is gathered and accessible for inspection as part of the prosecution process.

Although it is important to collect evidence, it is even more important that you stay safe. Make sure you collect evidence only when it is safe to do so and keep it somewhere safe.

This guidance is for collecting evidence of non-consensual intimate image sharing concerning adults. Be mindful that possessing, creating or sharing sexualised images of people under 18 may constitute a crime.

How do I collect and store information relating to intimate images shared without my consent?

Once you consider it safe, make sure you act quickly in case the material is removed. It is important to have factual proof of the abuse and the order in which it happened, so that, as outlined above, it can be secured for use as evidence in court.

Along with securing a copy of the intimate image shared without your consent; it is important that, if available, you also record the time(s) and date(s) the content was shared and include any other visible information, as this may transpire to be important. This could include information such as the username(s) of the person(s) who shared the material without your consent.

You should secure and save evidence of any photos or videos that have been posted online, either by downloading same or by taking screenshots or photos of the content. You should also save or record evidence of the webpage address(es) (URLs) or social media services (including account or profile usernames) where the photos or videos have been shared without your consent.

Screenshots are a quick and effective way; they may also have the added advantage of recording other details such as usernames and dates, but it is important to also take detailed records to accompany screenshots. Screenshots should also be taken where content such as abusive posts or texts are encountered, while emails or voicemail messages should be saved or copied, as applicable.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING ADVICE WITH REGARD TO CONTENT THAT APPEARS TO BE EVIDENCE: This guidance is for collecting evidence of non-consensual intimate image sharing concerning adults. Be mindful that possessing, creating or sharing sexualised images of people under 18 is a crime. In Ireland, the sexual abuse, sexual coercion and sexual exploitation of children are offences under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 as amended by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, and are often referred to, in legal terminology, as "child pornography". For more information about child sexual abuse material please click here.

If I report the IIA case to AGS, do I also need to report it to Hotline.ie for content removal?

Yes, specifically adults 18+; online service providers generally require a request stemming from the person featured in the imagery before taking action to have the content removed. Hotline.ie have put in place the mechanisms and associated protocols with online service providers and are best-placed to assist you in achieving the removal of intimate images. On this basis, engaging with Hotline.ie will offer the quickest and most effective means by which to effect removal of non-consensual intimate images shared.

What to do if you are worried about your immediate safety?

Where there is an immediate safety risk or you become aware of one - call 999.

Where the situation does not require an urgent response at that moment in time, but the removal of content or another party's access to that content has the potential to be an aggravating factor which may result in an escalated level of threat to your safety and well-being; Gardaí at your local Garda Station are always available to discuss your concerns in absolute confidence and provide whatever follow-up assistance/advice is required thereafter.

Your local Garda station will, on request, arrange for a Divisional Protective Services Unit (DPSU) Detective to make contact with you.

What should I do if someone I know (a friend) has experience intimate image abuse?

Family and friends play an important role in helping people who have experienced intimate image abuse. Reassure them that it's not their fault. Let them know that your believe them, that you care and that you are there to help. Encourage them to speak to a support service.

Your friend may feel distressed, humiliated, depressed, anxious, angry. Even if they try to push you away it is a good idea to check in on them and make sure they are ok.

Click here for information on supports and services.

How can I get help for what I am feeling?

Remember, it is not your fault. Anyone can experience intimate image abuse. You are not alone and you have not done anything wrong.

Reach out - get support from a trusted friend or family member, or from an expert counselling and support service if you are feeling anxious or stressed. The following support services are available to you also. For a full list of services please click here.


Please be advised that Hotline.ie cannot access and action content shared via encrypted private communications, such as messaging Apps. Hotline.ie can only action for removal material that has been shared online and is publicly accessible.

Intimate image abuse where content has been shared over encrypted private communications should be reported directly to your local Garda Station.

Gardaí attached to your local Divisional Protective Services Unit (DPSU) will have experience in investigating offences occurring online. You may wish to make contact directly with that unit for advice and to make a formal complaint. A DPSU has been established in each Garda Division countrywide. Your local Garda station will, on request, arrange for a DPSU Detective to make contact with you.

Please consult our FAQ to learn more about reporting an intimate image abuse case to the Gardaí.

Thank you for taking the time to report your concerns to Hotline.ie.

You have the option to report anonymously, your name or contact information is not required in order to submit a report, except when submitting an intimate image abuse (IIA) report.

To make an IIA report you will be asked to provide your email address. If you do not wish to use your regular email address, you may consider creating a new email address so you can communicate with us safely. For further information please read our IIA FAQs.

To protect your privacy Hotline.ie does not track the IP address and location of the device used to submit a report. To learn more please refer to our Privacy Policy.

Hotline.ie Analysts assess each report we receive, in its own right on a case-by-case basis, thus please note there is no need to make repeat report submissions to Hotline.ie, and doing so may inevitably delay a response to your particular case.


What do you want to report?

Child Sexual Abuse Material (Child Pornography) Intimate Image Abuse (IIA) Child Grooming Activities Financial Scam Racism and Xenophobia Query

When you select a report type, an accompanying explanatory note is displayed here to provide further guidance.

Under Irish law, Child Sexual Abuse Material (in all its forms: image, video, text, non-photographic content [e.g. cartoon, digitally-generated] etc.), is known as Child Pornography.

In Ireland it is an offence, under the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020, to distribute or publish, or threat to distribute or publish intimate images without the person's consent.

Online child grooming is a term used broadly to describe the tactics perpetrators deploy through the use of the Internet and digital technologies to trick, manipulate, extort and sexually exploit children.

Please note that Hotline.ie, can only handle financial scams which purport to be Irish financial services or have originated from Ireland, or give Irish contact details.

Online Racism and Xenophobia is a term used broadly to describe written, audio or visual ideas or theories, which incite hatred and promote violence against any definable group of individuals under the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989.

Use this option to submit a query within the Hotline.ie remit. In submitting a query you will need to supply an email address to enable us to provide you with a response to your query.

Hotline.ie's work specifically relates to illegal content online. We know that people experience a lot of other issues online that we unfortunately can't help with. Please see here a list of useful links and resources that might help you find the information you’re looking for.

Where did you see the content?

Website Chat/Instant Messaging Online Gaming Spam Email

Hotline.ie only handles reports referring to suspected illegal content encountered online.

If a person is in immediate danger or if you suspect that a child you know is a victim of sexual abuse, report it directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

Website details

Specify the URL of the website that you believe to contain illegal content. For example the URL of this webpage is

https://www.hotline.ie/contact-us/report


Without a URL it may not be possible to locate or remove the suspected illegal content. As such, please ensure to include the URL in the specified field.

Chat/Instant Messaging details

We really appreciate your time and help. Remember that you can report anonymously, we are not interested in who you are, only what you know so, the more detail you include regarding the concern you are reporting the better.

Please provide any additional details e.g. date/time of the incident, has the incident been referred to any other agency (name of the agency, reporting channel, date) etc.

Online gaming details

We really appreciate your time and help. Remember that you can report anonymously, we are not interested in who you are, only what you know so, the more detail you include regarding the concern you are reporting the better.

Please provide any additional details e.g. date/time of the incident, has the incident been referred to any other agency (name of the agency, reporting channel, date) etc.

Spam email details

Please note that Hotline.ie only handles email spam reports that refer to illegal content, especially child sexual abuse material ("child pornography") or seems to be advertising same.

To complain about spam and abuse of personal information, please contact Data Protection Commission..

Query

If you want to report any of the following issues, please report directly to An Garda Síochána (either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111):

  1. Urgent situation where you suspect a person may be in immediate danger.
  2. You suspect a child is a victim of abuse.
  3. Images stored on private devices such as mobile phones, tablets or computers.

Can you give us further detail about what happened?

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Enter the case number give to you by the Gardaí below:

Remain Anonymous I agree to include my contact details
  • If you submit your details they will be retained for 3 months in case we need to contact you for more information or respond to your query. After 3 months they will then be deleted.
  • Please be aware that if you report more than once with the same details, each instance of reporting starts that 3 month retention period again. Therefore, if you do not wish for your details to be retained for that period you may prefer to report anonymously.
  • Rest assured that we do not pass on personal details to third parties without a court order or your express written permission. Please note that under certain circumstances (i.e. person under 18 years of age) it may be necessary or advisable for us to disclose if we are legally obliged to, or to protect the rights, property or safety of Hotline.ie or others. For more information read our Privacy Statement.

Hotline.ie cannot identify the reporter. If you expect to receive an acknowledgement/reply please manually opt-in for a non-anonymous report and include contact details before report submission.

Please enter your contact details

You are not required to provide a real name if you do not wish to. If you are concerned about receiving responses on a current email address please consider creating an “anonymous” email address for the purpose of submission.

Success - Thank you.

Thank you for your report. It will be processed as soon as possible.


NOTE: Under the 1998 Child Pornography and Trafficking Act it is illegal for anyone to intentionally search for, download or store child pornography. It is not a defense in court that such material was reported to the hotline service.

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