As the Online Safety Bill continues to make its way through the House of Lords, the Bishop of Gloucester has called for greater protections for women and girls.
Rt Rev Rachel Treweek was speaking as part of the continuing committee stage.
The bill has been eagerly anticipated by campaigners for years, with activists saying the ongoing delays are having a devastating effect on children and vulnerable adults, who are navigating the online space.
It’s hoped that once it’s passed, the Online Safety Bill (OSB) will provide more stringent regulations on the “wild west” of the internet, putting restrictions on explicit content and forcing social media companies to take responsibility for harmful topics which might be discussed on their platforms.
When discussing the OSB on Tuesday, the debate turned to the “disproportionate” amount of cyber violence experienced by women and girls, and the fear of harassment that many experience as a result of their gender.
Responding to comments by Conservative Baroness Morgan of Cotes, who made reference to alarming rates of “cyberflashing, harassment, rape threats, and stalking,” Bishop Rachel called violence against women and girls “an abomination”.
“If we allow a culture of intimidation and misogyny to exist online, it will spill over to offline experiences,” she warned.
She called for more to be done to curtail trends of abuse against females, and for the issue to be afforded its own code of practice, for specific cases of abuse against women.
The OSB continues to make its way through Parliament.