Government changes to the Online Safety Bill

From: Association of Police and Crime Commissioners
Published: Wed Feb 09 2022

The Government has responded to pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Online Safety Bill by adding more offences including revenge porn, hate crime, the promotion or facilitation of suicide and sexual exploitation to the list of priority offences which means that material relevant to these offences must be removed by platforms.

Responding to the changes, Joint APCC Victims Leads Donna Jones and Sophie Linden said: This is welcome news, particularly for the many victims of online harms whose lives, and those of their loved ones, are often damaged forever.

The Online Safety Bill is designed to protect users from harmful content, particularly young people and the more vulnerable in our society. So, we fully support new legislation that will require porn sites to verify the age of their users and which aims to give young people better protection from explicit material.

We are pleased to see offences relating to stalking and revenge porn, will be included in the new legislation. These offences are often carried out by perpetrators who are known to their victims, making it even more traumatic and difficult for victims to feel confident in reporting them to the police.

We have heard some harrowing stories from parents whose children accessed websites that encourage or assist suicide in the lead-up to them taking their own lives. It is only right that tech giants should take more responsibility to remove harmful content and face fines and negative exposure if they don't.

PCCs want their communities to feel safe on- and offline and we will continue to work with partners and the government to ensure this happens.

"An updated Bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament over the next few months for further examination and approval and we will be scrutinising this bill as it proceeds to ensure it has sufficient safeguards so that everyone can enjoy the online world free from harassment and abuse."

World-leading measures to protect children from accessing pornography online

Company: Association of Police and Crime Commissioners

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