A group of campaigners, survivors and families affected by social media abuse have written to Tory leadership candidates urging the next prime minister to prioritize the Direct Safety Bill. line.
Danielle Armitage was one of those who signed the open letter addressed to the candidates.
She was only 14 years old when she was married while playing an online interactive game for kids.
This man claimed to be 16 years old, however he was in fact over 40 at the time.
Ms Armitage, who declined to be named to warn others of what happened to her, told Sky News that initially “he arranged to meet me after school”.
“I got into his car and found out that he was a lot older than he said he was. I just stood there speechless,” she said.
He drove Miss Armitage to a forest, and that’s when the first sexual assault occurred.
The situation then “escalated”, and the attacks then became more violent.
Ms Armitage said: “He said if I spoke out or told someone, he would threaten my family. I felt like I had to see him again.”
She added: “By coming together and speaking out, we want the next prime minister to know what happened to us was avoidable.
“They are in their hands to protect our children and make sure there are safety measures in place for children to use the Internet.”
Campaigners are calling on Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to resist calls to repeal the planned internet safety laws and commit to making them available without delay.
The proposed law was scheduled to pass parliament before the summer break but, due to competing demands in the lower house, has now been delayed until a new prime minister arrives.
It aims to regulate social platforms, to ensure they protect their users from harmful content, with fines and other potential penalties for those who fail to do so.
In some quarters, there were concerns that the bill would harm freedom of expression and enable censorship, while others believed it did not go far enough to curb the spread of malicious material. Online.
In their letter, campaigners said they were “disgusted” to see some opponents of the bill “delighted by this delay and called for the complete repeal of the legislation”.
The coalition includes 15 survivors of sexual abuse and grooming, and parents of children who died by suicide after viewing malicious content online.
“We have long campaigned for laws to better protect children online and were disappointed and disappointed to see the Online Safety Bill being delayed rather than passed by parliament last month.” , the letter wrote.
“With each month in which legislation is delayed, the NSPCC says we will see more than 3,500 crimes of online child sex abuse against children. These crimes have increased tenfold in just a decade. Content continues to fill children’s streams.
“This level of harm to children will not be tolerated in any other industry, which is why the next prime minister must make the Online Safety Bill a national priority and pave the way for emergency regulations begin.”
Concern has been raised by experts on all sides of the debate surrounding the bill following changes in the government and ministers with different priorities overseeing the law.
In their letter, campaigners insist Ms. Truss or Mr. Sunak must continue with the bill.
“If you become the next prime minister, we urge you to keep your promises to children and families and introduce a strong Online Safety Bill in full and without delay,” they said.
“Any downgrade of the bill would be unacceptable and break the commitment to children and families in the Conservative Party manifesto to provide the strongest possible protections for children online.”