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Intimate Image Abuse

Volume 720: debated on Tuesday 18 October 2022

9. If he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the potential merits of including the recommendations by the Law Commission on intimate image abuse published in July 2022 in the Online Safety Bill. (901688)

The Government welcome the Law Commission’s review, and we are carefully considering its recommendations. As my right hon. Friend will expect, the Lord Chancellor is working very closely with his counterpart in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Law Commission’s report says there are gaps in the law on online intimate image abuse that

“mean that harmful, culpable behaviour is not appropriately criminalised and victims are left without effective recourse.”

The Government have a strong record on tackling crime against women, including by introducing the new revenge pornography laws. Rather than just talking about it, can we please act now and either include this in the Online Safety Bill or have a standalone Bill, as the Government recently did to tackle upskirting?

My right hon. Friend has a hugely impressive track record of campaigning on all these issues, to enable women and girls to live safely both online and in the real world. She points to some of our previous work. Of course, technology is always changing, and the Government always keep this under review. It is right that we take time to consider the Law Commission’s recommendations, but I would be happy to meet her to discuss it in more detail.

Will the ministerial team go further in protecting women online? Is the Minister aware of the number of women journalists at the BBC who are trolled mercilessly into mental health issues? One dreadful troll was described as being in the Olympic class. These women have never been supported by the BBC, and they have never been given the support they should have been given. Will she join our campaign to secure justice through an independent inquiry into the negligence of the BBC towards its employees?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for bringing that matter to the attention of the House. Of course, the Government have a range of responses to keep all women—not just BBC journalists—living their lives. It is absolutely right that we put in place the further protections that are contained in the Online Safety Bill. If he has further proposals, I ask him to bring them to me and I will be happy to look at them.