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‘Coco’s Law’ criminalising the distribution of intimate images without consent passes all stages of the legislative process

  • Ministers McEntee and Brown secure agreement to enact Coco’s Law, the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill
  • Two new offences to deal with the non-consensual distribution of intimate images with offences carrying penalties of an unlimited fine and/or up to 7 years imprisonment
  • Ministers pay tribute to the memory of Nicole Fox and to her mother Jackie’s tireless campaign
  • Ministers also recognise the cooperation of all Deputies and Senators

18 December 2020,

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee T.D., today secured the approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas to enact Coco’s Law, the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill.

Speaking on the passing of this new legislation Minister McEntee said:

“The importance of ensuring that abuse in all forms and using any medium can be tackled cannot be under-estimated. The taking or sharing of intimate images without consent is abuse and will not be tolerated. This new legislation will give An Garda Síochána the tools they need to make sure that those who commit this abusive crime can be prosecuted and, if prosecuted, our Courts will have sentences available that reflect the level of harm these crimes cause to their victims.”

Recognising the speed at which the legislation progressed through the Houses, Minister McEntee thanked all involved for their cooperative and constructive input.

“I would like to thank all Deputies and Senators for their constructive engagement in advancing this much needed legislation, which was instrumental in getting the Bill passed before the end of the year. I would particularly like to thank Deputy Brendan Howlin for his work and his cooperation with me in recent weeks and months.

“But today, I especially want to remember Nicole Fox and to acknowledge the selfless efforts of her mother Jackie. Jackie has tirelessly campaigned to raise awareness about the harmful effects of online abuse and to make our laws stronger in this area.

Nicole and Jackie are one of the main reasons that I was determined to deliver on my promise that the Bill would pass through the Dáil and Seanad before Christmas. Nicole’s memory and Jackie’s campaign to honour her are recognised in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the legislation.”

Speaking after the Bill passed all stages in the Seanad, Minister Browne also thanked Deputies and Senators for their support in facilitating the swift passage of the legislation:

“It was clear that we all agree this important Bill represents a big step forward in terms of tackling harassment and harmful communications. In a world that relies more and more on technology for communication methods, this legislation will be an essential element for fighting back against those who choose to use these technological advancements to harm others.

“The passing of this Bill strengthens our response to harm perpetrated online, as well as offline, and will ensure that individuals can be punished in a proportionate manner.”

The Bill as passed will now be sent to the President to sign into law.