Katie Price has finally responded after internet trolls posted ‘sex videos’ of her disabled son Harvey.
The TV star and model is undertaking a campaign to make online abuse a designated criminal offence, and is even taking the issue to the Commons.
Harvey is 15-years-old, and lives with partial blindness, autism and Prader-Willi syndrome. He has routinely been subjected to abuse online.
This abuse culminated last year when an unnamed 19-year-old from Sussex was cautioned by police for the hateful comments online.
On ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Price spoke about the abuse Harvey has suffered online, saying:
Harvey was getting racial abuse, they were mocking him, doing sex videos on him, putting him in t-shirts, and he’s got complex special needs – I’ve got five children but they always pick on him.
I got two people arrested, [the police] seized all their computers, they seized everything, took them quite far, but then it got to the point where they can’t charge them with nothing because there’s nothing in place for it.
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As such, Price is trying to introduce legislation to the Commons under the name ‘Harvey’s Law’, which will make it illegal to abuse people online.
The proposals have received support from Stella Creasy MP and John Whittingdale MP, according to Huffington Post.
What happened to Katie’s son is horrific and completely unacceptable.
My frustration as somebody who has always experienced this is all too often it seems an issue about malicious communications, actually there is legislation around harassment.
The police and the CPS need to be much better at using the harassment legislation and put the victim at the centre of it.
— Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) February 4, 2018
I do think this is something we need to look at. When I was chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, we looked at the growth of the internet and the challenges it had brought.
During her interview with Robert Peston, Price also took aim at the hypocrisy of the lack of consistency with online security which allows these abusive practices to be carried out.
She also took aim at Channel 4 for having Frankie Boyle on the channel as they promoted the Paralympics.
She claimed that while the channel was promoting equality with the games, Frankie Boyle appeared on a show and made ‘horrific’ statements about Harvey.
If I said something on the street about someone, you’d get arrested or whatever, but why is it online it doesn’t seem strong enough?
If you go to buy a car, you need to give your address, you need to have some kind of security, and they need to do that online.
Katie’s suggestions include adding your personal details to online accounts as a requirement for registration.
This would, in theory, prevent the trolls who get banned from social media from just setting up another account and continuing the abuse.
Price is looking to send the suggestions to, and give evidence in front of, the Petitions Committee, who will look at whether tech companies are doing enough to protect its vulnerable users.