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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calls to end online abuse of women

Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery will today (Thursday 18 February) debate a Notice of Motion calling on the NSW Government to reform legislative frameworks to deal with online harassment and violence against all girls and young women.

In 2020, a report by Plan International titled Free To Be Online spoke to 14,000 females across 32 countries around the world, including Australia, about their social media experiences.

The testimony showed more than half of the women surveyed were harassed and abused online.

Disturbingly, the Australian results were worse than the global average, with 65% of girls and young women reported being bullied or ill-treated.

Ms Hornery will ask the Attorney General to work with his state and federal counterparts to reform legislative frameworks to deal with online harassment and violence.

“Technology use has overtaken the world and the internet plays a big part in this,” she said.

“Parents would agree, and worry, that online abuse harassment and hate is taking social media in a wicked direction.

“Many women I have spoken to, including most female Members of Parliament, have experienced harassment, either in person, by mail, by email or most predominantly, online via their social media pages.

“I’ve been targeted via social media many times, including threats against my life, forcing me to involve police.

“This report tells us that social media platforms designed to connect us to a global community are drastically failing girls and young women, with inadequate reporting mechanisms allowing harmful abuse slip through the cracks.

“This should not be happening.

“Girls and women need to know that when they’re abused and threatened online, they can report it and that they will be listened to, that action will be taken, and that perpetrators will be held accountable.

“The buck stops with the social media sites first and, when they fail or when problems fall through the cracks, governments are obliged to step in.”

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