Following the publication of the final report ‘Online abuse and the experience of disabled people’ by the House of Commons’ Petitions Committee, Newcastle North MP and Petitions Committee member, Catherine McKinnell, commented:
‘It’s clear from our inquiry – and the consultation we’ve undertaken across the country, including in Newcastle – that disabled people are being very badly let down by social media and far too many disabled people simply do not feel safe online.
‘This is devastating given the powerful benefits for disabled people of being able to interact via social media, and this is yet another part of everyday life from which disabled people are being marginalised and excluded.
‘This situation is completely unacceptable, and the Government must now act – working alongside disabled people and social media firms – to put this right.
‘Equally troubling is the fact the online abuse disabled people face is clearly a reflection of that which continues to take place offline. So, the Petitions Committee is also pushing for disability hate crime to be properly recognised by the law – something I’ve been campaigning for since the horrific abuse and murder of my constituent Lee Irving, whose case is referenced in our report.
‘If we are committed to demonstrating that crimes committed against people because of their disabilities are simply unacceptable in 21st century Britain, the law must be made fit for purpose – and all organisations must understand their responsibilities in preventing disability hate crime from taking place.’
A full copy of the Petitions Committee report can be read here.