Gardaí have confirmed that they have “commenced probative enquiries” into a massive online leak of intimate and sexual images of Irish women and girls after new 'sinister' material emerged.
It comes after tens of thousands of images of thousands of Irish women and girls, were shared on a number of online forums.
Images and videos have been taken from various platforms including Only Fans, Tinder, WhatsApp, and Instagram. A large number are also taken without knowledge or consent in changing rooms or while women are sleeping.
The Victims Alliance confirmed they have been advised by the gardaí, due to the serious nature of the recent findings, to step back from trying to remove the mega-files and forums.
“The case has taken a very dark and sinister turn. As a result, the gardaí have asked the Victims Alliance, and the volunteers involved to take a step back and let them take over,” said Linda Hayden, Founder of the Victims Alliance.
“We are happy that they are committed to doing so. If you become aware of a link that the gardaí need to know about please let us know and we will pass it on. Please do not open any files in the links.”
Ms Hayden said they would not be disclosing the nature of the files. And asked any volunteer to stop any work they have been doing.
A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána said: "An Garda Síochána is aware of the reports and Assistant Commissioner (Organised & Serious Crime) has commenced probative enquires into the matter."
Theunderstands that the Harassment, Harmful Communications, and Related Offences Bill will be brought before the Justice Committee on December 1.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said: "Harassment and abuse in any form, whether online or otherwise, is utterly unacceptable and has no place in Irish society. Progression of the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill is a priority action for me as Minister for Justice and I am committed to seeing it enacted as quickly as possible.”
Anyone who has been negatively affected by this can contact Women’s Aid Ireland. Their 24-hour helpline is 1800 341900.
If you have had personal images shared without your consent, support is available.@Womens_Aid's 24hr National Freephone Helpline is 1800 341 900@DublinRCC's National Helpline is 1 800 77 8888 @Vicsalliance— Womenscouncilireland (@NWCI) November 18, 2020
CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Noeline Blackwell, says any woman that has been impacted needs to know that this is not their fault.
"We need to have better systems, better structures to hold the people who do that kind of thing to account, to bring them to court, if necessary.
"But we also need everybody to call out that bad behaviour."