Suicide Prevention Charity welcomes new Online Safety Strategy as a ‘step in the right direction’.

Today HM Government publishes its white paper on Online Safety. National UK charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide welcomes the position of The Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on making UK’s access to the internet ‘the safest in the world’.

The Government will introduce a regulator for online content and social media companies will have to sign up to a new ‘mandatory duty of care’. This is welcome news for PAPYRUS.

Said Ged Flynn, PAPYRUS chief executive: “I am pleased that HM Government has listened to PAPYRUS about the very real risks of young people being influenced by online content which can contribute to their suicide. This strategy might well help save the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the country.

“Suicide remains the lead killer of our young people between 10 and 35 years of age. Many young people considering suicide can far too easily access information, discussion and graphic imagery online which compound suicidal feelings or, worse, encourage suicide behaviours.

“The PAPYRUS Internet Safety campaign came to national prominence again in recent months with the tragic death and inquest of Molly Russell and her father’s determination to press social media companies to act. Ian Russell’s bravery certainly brought our concerns to the Government’s attention in a powerful way, sadly after a personal tragedy which every young suicide is. Let’s hope today’s announcements bring action, not simply more rhetoric.

“Today’s commitment by Government to set up independent regulation of the online environment and the threat of prosecution for social media companies if they do not fully demonstrate their proper duty of care to users, must be ‘a step in the right direction’. It will console worried parents and families. Moreover, it should improve suicide safety for young people in crisis.”

PAPYRUS Campaign for Greater Online Safety:

PAPYRUS has been campaigning for greater safety online since World Suicide Prevention Day, September 2006, when it called on the Government to follow the example set by Australia to outlaw internet use to incite or encourage others to take their own lives, or to provide information on how to die by suicide. Until now, in the UK, threats posed by pro-suicide sites, chat rooms and parts of social media have not been taken seriously enough.

Suicide is the main cause of death in young people under 35 in the UK. Every year in the UK over 1,600 take their own lives. PAPYRUS believes that many are preventable. The charity provides practical advice and support – how to cope, what to say and do – to young people and others concerned that a young person may be at risk of killing themselves.

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 tel 0800 068 41 41 text 88247 email

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