Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Katie Price takes campaign to make internet trolling a crime to Parliament

Katie Price has opened up about online abuse faced by her disabled son as she campaigns for internet trolling to be made a crime.

The former model said she had been moved to take action due to the level of abuse her disabled son Harvey, 15, receives.

"Harvey was getting racial abuse, they were mocking him, doing sex videos on him, putting him in t-shirts," she told Peston On Sunday.

"He's got complex special needs - I've got five children but they always pick on him."

She said she had taken complaints to the police, but was told they were had been unable to charge anyone because of a lack of legislation.

Why should these people get away with it?

If I said something in the streets about someone you would get arrested, but why is it online it doesn't seem strong enough?

– Katie Price

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

The reality TV star said the issue affected "everyone" and many people had been driven to suicide by online abuse.

She is calling for a new 'Harvey's law' to close online loopholes, and said there should also be stronger measures to identify people setting up social media accounts so they can be traced if they are abusive.

"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," she told the programme.

Ms Price got the backing of fellow guest and Labour MP Stella Creasy, who has also been frequently targeted by trolls on Twitter.

Ms Creasy said she was frustrated police were not using existing legislation around harassment to tackle online abuse.

Stella Creasy said the police need to use existing legislation to take act on online abuse. Credit: ITV/Peston On Sunday

"All too often it is seen an issue about malicious communications, actually there is legislation around harassment," she said.

"The police and the CPS need to be much better at using the harassment legislation."

Ms Price is taking her case to the Petitions Committee next week who have the power to order a debate in Westminster Hall.

They will look at the impact of online abuse - particularly on people with disabilities - responsibility for protection, whether technology companies are doing enough, whether the law needs to be changed, how to define online abuse and what support is given to victims

Conservative MP John Whittingdale agreed: "I do think it's something we need to look at.

He supported Price's campaign and said that existing laws "need to be amended or brought up to date" to take into account the development of online media.