Internet: Bullying

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 6th September 2013.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment analysis her Department has made of the effect of sexist abuse online on the numbers of women entering (a) journalism, (b) politics and (c) other areas of public life; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Director of Public Prosecutions published guidelines on cases involving communications sent by social media in June this year. This guidance makes clear that in cases where communications constitute credible threats of violence or specifically target an individual or individuals should be robustly prosecuted.

There are instances where content does not cross the criminal threshold but may not meet the acceptable use policies social media platforms have in place. Where this is the case, Government expects social media companies to have robust processes in place for enforcing such policies, including the removal of content and the suspension or termination of accounts as appropriate.

Online abuse does not just affect the individuals directly involved, but the wider community of women and men. Ministers in my team have met with a number of stakeholders who campaign against sexist abuse online, and we will continue to listen to proposals for positive action in this area through the women's engagement programme.

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