Wednesday, 07 Dec 2022

Online safety bill must protect adults from self-harm content, say charities

Online safety bill must protect adults from self-harm content, say charities


Online safety bill must protect adults from self-harm content, say charities

The bill is set to resume its progress through parliament but the culture secretary has signalled that a key area, which contains provisions related to suicide and self-harm content, will be altered.

Samaritans is among the charities that have signed an open letter to the prime minister, Liz Truss, telling her the bill must protect people of all ages from harmful material.

The government has said the legislation will return with provisions for protecting children strengthened as a result of the inquest into the death of 14 year-old Molly Russell, which found that social media had contributed to the death of the teenager, who took her own life after viewing online material related to suicide, self-harm and depression.

The letter says young adults aged 18 to 24 can be just as vulnerable to harm from online suicide and self-harm content as under-18s.

Signatories to the letter include the heads of the suicide prevention charity Samaritans, the youth suicide prevention charity Papyrus, the NHS Confederation mental health network and the Mental Health Foundation.

The act will be overseen by Ofcom, the communications regulator, which will have the power to impose fines of £18m or 10% of global turnover on companies if they breach the legislation.

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