Yesterday Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers attended an event on Online Abuse of disabled people which was hosted by the House of Commons Petitions Committee at Portcullis House. The event is in response to a petition started by Katie Price which calls for online abuse to be made a specific criminal offence and to create a register of offenders.
Trailblazers were delighted to attend this event and take part in discussions particularly given our 10 month long campaign to ask Twitter to make it easier for disabled people to report hateful comments against them. During the discussions at the event, members of the Petitions Committee were particularly interested to hear that disability is not included in the initial list of characteristics Twitter allows users to report abuse on. Many people in attendance had received very unsatisfying responses from social media platforms when they have tried to report abuse.
Everyone in attendance had varied experience dealing with online abuse either personally or in their work as campaigners for disability issues. This made for great discussion and a lot of suggestions for the Petitions Committee to consider.
Trailblazers Manager Lauren West said:
The event was really productive – it was an excellent opportunity for Trailblazers to share the experiences of our supporters, particularly those who are worried about speaking out about abuse themselves. We hope the Petitions Committee will reflect these experiences in their reports.
Trailblazers has now moved to pan-disability charity Whizz-Kidz (September 2020).