Criminalise cyber-bullying

10.05.2023 12:56

Criminalise cyber-bullying


The EPP Group wants to make cyber-bullying a criminal offence right across the EU. Today, the European Parliament will debate the impact of cyber violence in its various forms on young people during a plenary debate.

“Cyber-bullying must be tackled at EU level to ensure that people across Europe have the same level of protection against online abuse. That is why we are pushing for new legislation to criminalise cyber-bullying as part of a broader suite of measures to properly address violence against women in the EU. If agreed, this will be the first such EU legislation in this area and will save lives", said Frances Fitzgerald MEP, who is the EPP Group's negotiator of legislation combatting violence against women.

Fitzgerald highlighted Ireland’s legislation on cyber-bullying, called Coco’s Law. The law was enacted in the name of Nicole Fox, affectionately referred to as 'Coco', who was bullied in person and online for three years. After her tragic suicide, her mother Jackie led a national campaign to highlight the issues of online harassment and abuse. In 2021, Ireland adopted Coco’s Law, with up to seven years in jail for those guilty of distributing or publishing intimate images of a person without consent. Perpetrators have already been convicted and imprisoned in Ireland as a result, while 105 prosecutions are currently pending under Coco's Law.

"We have already seen the tragic consequences of online abuse across Europe. Tragedies must compel us to take action to ensure that no other person has to go through the same pain and torment that Coco experienced. We can all take inspiration from Jackie Fox who, even amidst her grief, fought hard to ensure Coco’s Law saved others. The EU needs to act; it needs to ensure this law is a reality for everyone across Europe", Fitzgerald stressed.

“Bullying kills - we have a responsibility to prevent it as best we can. The EPP Group is committed to supporting the criminalisation of cyber-bullying across the EU. We want to take Jackie's message from Ireland to the European level”, Fitzgerald concluded.

Jackie Fox will attend today's plenary debate in in Strasbourg and meet MEPs, at the invitation of the EPP Group.

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 176 Members from all EU Member States

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