Voices to be Heard Group give their opinions on Select Committee proposals for online abuse of disabled people

Posted On: 
24th September 2018

Voices to be Heard, the speak out group for people supported by national learning disabilities charity Hft, has responded to a Petitions Select Committee consultation aimed at strengthening government legislation to prevent the online abuse of disabled people. Over 40 members of Voices to be Heard from across Hft’s services responded to the consultation, making it the group’s largest response to date.

The Select Committee began its investigation into online abuse in response to a petition, launched by Katie Price and signed by more than 200,000 people, which called for a specific criminal offence to cover online abuse and to create a register of offenders.

The Select Committee has submitted 14 draft recommendations, including making incitement of disability hatred a specific crime, and called for disabled people to give their feedback on their recommendations before producing a final report. This is the first time a House of Commons Select Committee has run a full consultation on its proposed recommendations.

The most popular amongst Voices to be Heard members were suggestions that:

  • “Social media companies should have to show that they have involved and listened to people with disabilities when they write their policies and plan how their sites work” (55%)
  • The Government should do a review to find out about the experiences of people with learning disabilities when they report crimes or have to give evidence to the police or in a court” (60%)
  • “The Government must require schools to teach children about disability and how online bullying can affect people” (62.5%)

Amy Gordon, Programme Co-Ordinator for Involvement at Hft, commented: “Voices to be Heard welcomed the consultation as an opportunity to represent people with a learning disability in the move to tackle hate and abuse of disabled people by highlighting the particular issues that matter most to them. We feel it is vital that people with learning disabilities continue to be involved, at all levels, in both discussion and action if the Government is to bring about effective change.”