What to do when private photos of you end up online

Sometimes private photos, videos or messages end up online without your consent. This can be embarrassing and make you feel ashamed.

It is not your fault and you've done nothing to be ashamed of. The person who breached your privacy and trust is the one who should be ashamed.

You may find it embarrassing but you should talk to someone about this for support. For example, a trusted adult, family member or close friend.

This is a very troubling thing to go through. You should get support and not go through it alone.

If your levels of distress remain high, ask your GP about local counselling services.

How private pictures end up online

People share pictures and videos with people they trust. Sometimes this person shares it with other people and communities.

Sometimes people such as ex-partners and ex-friends share intimate photos or videos to get revenge. This is known as revenge porn. Sometimes phones or computers are hacked and pictures are taken from them without you knowing.

Cyberbullying

How to get pictures removed

You can contact the person who shared the picture or video of you and ask them to remove it. Get them to give you a list of people and websites they shared the picture or video with.

Get in contact with the website or social media platform. You can make a complaint about a picture that has been posted of you without your consent.

Take screenshots of the pictures you see of yourself posted without your consent. Keep a record of your complaints and requests to remove the photo.

Your rights

Sharing private or intimate pictures of you without consent is an invasion of your privacy. This is protected by EU law.

Report it to the GardaĆ­. They can help you in getting the online pictures or videos removed.

Ireland has no law on cyber harassment.

If you were under 18

It is illegal to share intimate pictures and videos of children under 18 years of age. Keeping pictures on phones or computers is known as possession.

Sharing these pictures or videos, even if it's only with a friend, is called distribution. Possession and distribution of child pornography by anyone is a criminal offence.

You need to:

  • report the picture to the website and let them know the situation
  • untag yourself if possible - this is where you remove a tag identifying you in the picture
  • contact the person who shared the image and ask them to take it down
  • get a list of everyone or every site that has shared pictures
  • if the picture is not removed report it to the GardaĆ­
  • tell your parents - you may be worried about how they'll react but they will want to support you

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025