Tuesday, 15th December 2020

The government has today published its response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation which is expected to be followed by an Online Harms Bill in early 2020. ECPAT UK welcomes this landmark proposal to keep children safe online. 

Patricia Durr, CEO of ECPAT UK, said:

"ECPAT UK welcomes steps to making children safer online. Globally, around a third of all Internet users are children and legislation is long overdue to hold tech companies to account and to create a duty of care to them.

Children are at risk of online harms that have a very real impact on their lives. Lack of regulation has left tech companies under no obligation to make their services safe, while increasing numbers of children have become victims of sexual exploitation, grooming and recruitment into criminal exploitation. The increased time children have spent online throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated these risks and exposed how gaps in regulation have left all children vulnerable.

We welcome the cross-party commitment to regulation of tech companies and recognition that this is a global problem requiring close collaboration with international partners. Measures in the Bill should facilitate international cooperation to fight child abuse and exploitation.

Given what is at stake, we look forward to scrutinising the Online Harms Bill and working with our partners in the Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety (CHIS) to ensure the new legislation is fit for purpose, enforced strongly and able to deliver on its promises to keep child Internet users safe.”


Press contact

Sinead Geoghegan, Communications and Media Manager, ECPAT UK, [email protected] 07402 113 985