Inclusion London’s evidence to the online abuse enquiry

The House of Commons Petitions Committee is investigating online abuse and the experiences of Disabled people after a petition started by Katie Price achieved more than 220,000 signatures. Inclusion London’s Chair Anne Novis gave oral evidence to the committee, and we have also submitted written evidence.

Anne Novis giving evidence to the house of commons petitions committee

Our Chair Anne Novis gave oral evidence at the House of Commons inquiry on online abuse on the 6th February 2018.

The oral evidence session was heard by the Petitions Committee. The inquiry into online abuse and the experience of disabled people was launched following a petition started by Katie Price.

Katie Price gave evidence about the online abuse directed at her son Harvey Price. Amy Clarke from MenCap spoke about abuse on social media, and particularly about abuse aimed at people with learning difficulties.

Following the oral evidence provided by Inclusion London’s Chair Anne Novis to MPs, we submitted written evidence to the inquiry on online abuse.

Download our evidence here: Inclusion London evidence – Inquiry into the online abuse of Disabled people

Our key points and recommendations are as follows:

Key points

  • Online abuse is part of the wider experience of abuse and discrimination that Disabled people experience on a daily basis.
  • There are links between online abuse and face to face harassment and violence.
  • Online abuse and physical threats cause distress but also inhibit Disabled people’s daily lives, with individuals too fearful go online or to leave their houses alone.
  • Social media companies are too slow to identify and remove abusive material with weak UK legislation.
  • Current hate crime law is inadequate to Disabled people and urgently needs to be changed.
  • Politicians and the media need to acknowledge the role they have played in the increase in abuse since 2010 and take action to remedy this.
  • Accessible support for Disabled victims of hate crime is not available in all areas of the country, funding needs to be provided.

Summary of Recommendations

  • To urgently review existing hate crime legislation with a view to introducing amendments to ensure parity across all protected characteristics by creating new “aggravated” and “stirring up” offences for hatred on grounds of disability.
  • To strengthen UK licensing legislation by introducing penalties on social media companies who fail to:
    • remove harmful online material within 24 hours of being notified
    • proactively search and remove posts with harmful content
  • For Government to implement a broad mass media campaign in consultation with Disabled People’s Organisations promoting disabled people, particularly those who receive social security payments and are unable to work, as equal citizens and rights holders.
  • To actively and accessibly seek the views of Disabled people to inform the development of measures to tackle online abuse announced by the Prime Minister in February 2018.

The oral evidence session is available to watch at:

Download our evidence here: Inclusion London evidence – Inquiry into the online abuse of Disabled people

Read the Disability News Service article here: Disabled people need ‘equal and fair’ hate crime laws, MPs are told