Females: Domestic Violence

Home Office written question – answered on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Dawn Butler Dawn Butler Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department , what steps the Government is taking to protect women who are experiencing domestic abuse online.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

The law is clear that what is illegal off-line is also illegal on-line. Robust legislation is in place to deal with domestic abuse online, as well as internet trolls, cyber-stalking and harassment, and perpetrators of grossly offensive, obscene or menacing behaviour.

We have committed to strengthening our response to domestic abuse through the publication of a draft Domestic Abuse Bill, and we are working with partners across Government on our domestic abuse consultation to ensure it is as robust and thorough as possible. The consultation will be launched shortly.

Through the Tampon Tax Fund, we are providing funding £250,000 to Refuge to launch a programme aimed at protecting and empowering women against the abuse of modern technology.

In addition, as part of the work on the Digital Charter announced in the Queen's Speech, the Government is considering a range of options to counter internet harms more broadly. This includes an Internet Safety Strategy, published on 11 October, which looks at how we can support users so that everyone can access the benefits of the internet safely.

As part of the Internet Safety work, the Digital Economy Act requires Government to introduce a voluntary code of practice for social media companies. The code will set out guidance about what social media providers should do in relation to conduct on their platforms and involves bullying or insulting an individual or other behaviour likely to intimidate or humiliate them.

In addition, on the anniversary of female suffrage on 6 February the Prime Minister announced that the Law Commission will conduct a review of offensive communications legislation.

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