Online Abuse

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 23rd September 2020.

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Photo of Nick Smith Nick Smith Labour, Blaenau Gwent

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on tackling online abuse targeted at women.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

There has been a worrying rise in the amount of abuse, harassment and intimidation online, and women are often disproportionately targeted by such abuse. It is completely unacceptable and, in fact, impacts individuals’ rights to participate online. We set out robust measures to deal with this in the online harms White Paper and will be publishing a full Government response to this later in the year.

Photo of Nick Smith Nick Smith Labour, Blaenau Gwent

I am glad that the Minister recognises this point. Almost one in two women report experiencing online abuse since the start of covid-19. However, the Government have delayed the draft of the online harms Bill until, I understand, the end of 2021. Legislation is clearly needed now, so when will the Government bring the Bill forward?

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is misinformed. We are absolutely committed to making the UK the safest place to go online. The online harms White Paper will set out how we are going to make world-leading legislation. We intend to publish that before the end of the year and the legislation to follow at the very beginning of next year.