On International Day against Bullying and Violence in Schools, let’s #bringincocoslaw

05 November 2020

Speaking on International Day against Bullying and Violence in schools, Labour Justice Spokesperson Brendan Howlin has reiterated the need for Labour’s Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill criminalising online harassment to become law.

 

Deputy Howlin said:

“I introduced this Bill in response to a campaign from Jackie Fox after the tragic death of her daughter Nicole due a to persistent campaign of online bullying. We all know the damaging catastrophic consequences this kind of persistent online harassment has and of the need for a strong policy response in order to tackle online bullying.

“The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill seeks to modernise existing harassment laws to cover modern technology and social media and follows recommendations in the Law Reform Commission’s report on Harmful Communications and Digital Strategy.

“The Bill seeks to update existing regulation by broadening the legal definition of communication, so it covers all electronic, written and spoken word, including for example, an iMessage, WhatsApp or Facebook message, and a tweet or social media post. The law governing online harassment has not changed since the advent of text messaging.

“I am meeting with the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee shortly to finalise amendments to the Bill and it is due to come before the Justice Committee next month. It is vitally important that we pass this Bill into law before Christmas and I am looking forward to seeing this important legislation being enacted at the earliest opportunity.

 

“Online bullying and harassment are a massive problem particularly in schools and there is a strong correlation between students who are being harassed at school also being bullied online. Online bullying needs a strong legislative response and the best way for Ireland to mark International Day against Bullying and Violence in Schools is by enacting this Bill as soon as possible.

 

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