Samaritans CEO Julie Bentley has responded to the Online Safety Bill
Samaritans has made strengthening the Online Safety Bill one of its key campaigns to ensure no one is left unprotected from harmful content under the new law.
Responding to the Online Safety Bill, Julie Bentley Samaritans CEO said:
“The Online Safety Bill makes progress towards a safer internet environment but there is still a gaping hole that fails to protect adults from ‘legal but harmful’ suicide and self-harm content.
“It is woefully inadequate that only the most well-known social media sites are required to even think about the risk their harmful suicide and self-harm content poses to adults. Smaller sites, including forums that encourage suicide, are being completely let off and this is not good enough, as we know some of the most harmful content lives on these sites.
“You don’t stop having suicidal feelings or self-harming as soon as you turn 18 and this new law must help protect everyone, on any site, whether they are 16 or 66.
“We know that the internet has played a role in the deaths of people of all ages, and many will have visited websites that encouraged suicide or shared information about methods of harm.
“The internet can be a real source of help, advice and support for people struggling with poor mental health so we must do more to ensure there are safe, supportive spaces online while removing suicide and self-harm content that is clearly harmful.
“All sites, not just the most popular, should at the very least carry out risk assessments of their suicide and self-harm content in relation to adults and make it clear how they will deal with harmful content. If nothing changes in the Bill then it will be a huge, missed opportunity to help prevent suicide.”
For interview requests with Samaritans CEO Julie Bentley, please contact our Press Office at [email protected]
Find out more on how the Online Safety Bill is aiming to tackle harmful suicide and self-harm content and what we think needs to change to ensure everyone is protected online. Julia Waltham, our Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns explains in more detail here.
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