Pro-suicide Internet Sites are a Threat to Young
Suicide prevention charity calls on government to widen CEOP remit
YouGov survey reveals overwhelming support for safer internet
7 February 2012: Safer Internet Day
3 February 2012
PAPYRUS the national UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicides is calling on the government to widen the remit of its Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
"Increasingly we learn of new cases where young people have taken their own lives after researching pro-suicide sites or chatrooms,” said Ged Flynn, chief executive of PAPYRUS.
“We are asking the government to provide resources to protect young people from suicide predators in the same way it seeks to prevent sexual exploitation of children and young people through CEOP. Otherwise it would continue to seem that it is illegal to groom a child for sex but not for death.”
PAPYRUS is confident that the majority of people in the United Kingdom support its drive for a safer internet, especially where young vulnerable people are concerned. In a recent YouGov survey commissioned by the charity, 80% of those surveyed were overwhelmingly in agreement that the existence of websites that have the sole intention of encouraging others to take their own lives are a significant threat to young and vulnerable people in our society.
Of these 57% strongly agreed; female respondents were the most concerned (85% agreed compared to 75% of men). 69% agreed that UK law should be revised to ensure it is effective in enabling the prosecution of those who assist others to take their own lives through online websites, chat rooms, forums and social networking websites (45% of them strongly).
PAPYRUS is also concerned that it is difficult to complain about offensive online content concerning suicide. Such was the case in a survey of its members; some of whom found it was either ‘impossible’ or ‘difficult’ to find out how to make a complaint.
The charity undertook a test case identifying what it regarded to be a particularly dangerous and illegal website with an extensive list of suicide methods in great technical detail, discussions of the least painful methods, such as how to avoid discovery and where to get materials. The site originates in the US but includes an advertisement by someone in the UK offering to assist suicide. When asked to block the site the service provider stated it did not censor online content and refused to take action. Yet there is no government or independent body to which complaints may be referred - hence the charity’s call for this to be included within CEOP’s remit.
“I have no doubt that ministers are concerned and I am confident that the government is committed to keeping young people safe online,” emphasised Ged Flynn. “However if there is no provision of an alternative means by which the public can complain and if the blocking of illegal and life-threatening websites continues to be considered ‘inappropriate’, both government and industry will have to share some of the terrible responsibility for the suicides in which online access to methods has played a significant role.”
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All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,008 adults. Field work was undertaken between 20 - 22 September 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
PAPYRUS is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide, offering support and practical advice to young people worried about themselves and others concerned about them. At its helpline HOPELineUK - 0800 068 41 41 - trained professionals discuss in confidence how to cope - what to say and do to help overcome suicidal feelings, where to access additional help.
For more information on PAPYRUS, please email us HERE or call 01925 572444.
Editorial contact for more information and interviews:
Rosemary Vaux at PAPYRUS press office
direct line: 020 8943 5343 mobile 07792 72 62 41
email the PAPYRUS Press Office