Closed petition Strengthen laws against online abuse and harassment

Reform of the criminal law is needed to protect victims from online abuse and harassment. We all have Freedom of Speech, but this must not protect online bullying and harassment, which are not acceptable in any form.

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The Law Commission has stated that current laws do not adequately reflect the nature of some online abuse and the harm it can cause, and that these laws could be clearer and more effectively target serious harm and criminality. I think it's time for the Government to implement tougher laws on online abuse and enact legislation restricting certain behaviour online, including on social media. This could help protect the lives of thousands of people who take their own life each year.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

3,070 signatures

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MPs to debate regulation and prevention of online harms

MPs will debate regulation and prevention of online harms this Thursday 19 November in the main House of Commons Chamber. The subject of the debate has been determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

This will be a debate on a motion proposed by Jeremy Wright MP, which proposes that the House recognises the need to take urgent action to reduce and prevent online harms and urges the Government to bring forward the Online Harms Bill as soon as possible, on which Members may vote at the end of the debate.

The debate will start at around 11.00am, following the business statement and questions to the Leader of the House, and any other urgent questions or statements.

Watch here this Thursday:

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Petitions Committee announce evidence sessions on tackling online abuse

On Tuesday 2 November, the Petitions Committee will hold an evidence session with experts and campaigners as it resumes its inquiry into Tackling Online Abuse.

Watch the session, from 2.15pm on Tuesday 2 November:

The session follows evidence sessions in summer 2020 with petitioners Katie and Amy Price, and Bobby Norris, focusing on their experience of receiving online abuse targeted at them and their families.

The Committee is resuming its inquiry following the Government’s publication of its draft Online Safety Bill earlier this year. Tuesday's session will be the first of three sessions the Committee plans to hold over the next month.

Earlier this year, a petition calling for verified ID to be made a requirement for opening a social media account received almost 700,000 signatures in six months. Over 500,000 of those people signed in the weeks following the racist abuse aimed at England footballers after the 2020 European Championships final. 

Find all publications related to this inquiry, including oral and written evidence:

What is the Committee looking at?

The Committee's inquiry will be focusing on: 

  • The lived experience of people receiving online abuse on social media, particularly in relation to protected characteristics; 

  • Social, regulatory and technological solutions to online abuse – in particular the option of user ID verification and/or restrictions on anonymity on social media; and 

  • The availability and enforcement of legal penalties for online abuse. 

In its evidence session on 2 November, the Committee will focus on opportunities and priorities for Government action to tackle online abuse aimed at people as a result of characteristics such as their sexuality, disability, or religion.

It will also consider experts’ perspectives on the Government’s proposals to tackle online abuse through its draft Online Safety Bill, as well as looking at how stronger Government-led interventions to tackle online abuse could affect freedom of speech online. 

Find out more about this session on our website:

What are evidence sessions?

Evidence sessions are public meetings with experts, officials or people with personal experiences of the topic being examined. Evidence sessions help Committees to understand how Government policies are working in the real world, and what needs to change to make things better.

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs appointed by the House of Commons to consider e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons.

Find out more about the Petitions Committee:

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