- 22 May 23
Coco's Law was first introduced in 2021. Following that legislation, It is a crime to share intimate images of someone, or to threaten sharing intimate images.
A government campaign has been launched to inform the public that threatening to share intimate images of someone is a crime.
The ‘Serious Consequences’ campaign is being launched by the Department of Justice, across social media, as well as on television, in cinemas, and on local and national radio.
Legislation on the sharing of intimate images was first introduced by former Justice Minister Helen McEntee in 2021. The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020, is known colloquially as ‘Coco’s Law’, named after Nicole Fox.
Fox took her own life in 2018, following years of bullying and harassment on social media. Her case serves as a reminder of the dangers of social media, and sharing intimate content without consent.
While the first campaign, launched in 2021 aimed at informing the public sharing intimate images was a crime, this campaign focuses on spreading awareness that it is illegal to threaten to share intimate images of someone.
Speaking about the new campaign to increase awareness around ‘Coco’s Law’, Justice Minister Simon Harris said: “We know that threatening to share intimate imagery can be a feature of coercive control, for example, in relationships. We also know that it is a threat that can be used purely for monetary or financial gain.”
Minister Harris continued: “Whatever a person’s motivation for threatening to share an intimate image of another person, it is a crime through Coco’s Law which [former justice] Minister Helen McEntee enacted in 2021 and which is now seen across Europe as a pioneering piece of legislation.”
The Justice Minister stressed the importance of this new campaign, with 1 in 2 people in Ireland unaware of this law. Minister Harris said: “Research carried out on behalf of my department shows that half the population does not know that this is illegal. We want to change that.”
The ‘Serious Consequences’ government campaign is part of a five-year long programme aimed at tackling domestic, sexual and gender based violence. This included the government's 'No excuses' campaign, first launched in 2019.
Speaking on the matter, Minister Harris said: “We know the importance of criminal justice, of strong legislation, of reporting, of supports for victims and of a co-ordinated approach in our work with victims – and we are working hard on initiatives in each of those areas.”
Minister Harris continued: “I believe the fundamental weapon we have in the fight against domestic, sexual and gender based violence is, and will always be, prevention. It is that huge piece of work around change in attitudes and social norms as to what is acceptable in Irish society.”