Online Safety Bill delay

The IWF says delaying the Online Safety Bill will see more children victimised and sexually abused amid fears the long-awaited legislation is set to suffer another delay.

The Online Safety Bill had been due to return to Parliament on November 1, but MPs have suggested it has been pulled from the timetable.

Today (October 26) in a Westminster Hall debate, Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones (Pontypridd) said: “Can you confirm why this Bill has now been pulled from the timetable next week if it is such an important piece of legislation?”

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is the UK organisation responsible for finding and removing child sexual abuse from the internet.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said: “Each day this crucial legislation is delayed is another day imagery of children being sexually abused spreads further online. This is the reality.

“Our hotline analysts see the consequences, and last year they removed more images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse and rape from the internet than ever before.

“We need to see a clear timetable of when this Bill will proceed to give victims the confidence that this Bill is still a Government priority.

“Law enforcement, tech businesses and charities are working hard to keep the internet safe, but they need certainty. Delaying the passage of this Bill would undermine that.”

Speaking today (October 26) during the Westminster Hall debate, Tory former minister Damian Hinds stressed the need to “press on” to get the Online Safety Bill passed.

He told MPs: “The Internet Watch Foundation notes a growth in sexual abuse content available online and particularly a big growth in the category which is known as ‘self-generated’ imagery.”

Mr Hinds said the spread of child sexual abuse material online perpetuated the suffering of children who have been sexually abused.