Press Release

18 July 2022

Organisations call for next Prime Minister to prioritise Online Safety Bill

Responding to the pausing of the Online Safety Bill, a coalition of VAWG and technology experts and organisations said:

“It is incredibly disappointing that the Online Safety Bill has been paused, pending the selection of a new Conservative leader and subsequent Prime Minister. The Bill is a pivotal piece of legislation that has the potential to provide significant and much needed protections for women and girls online.

“As a coalition, we have been working tirelessly to urge the government to include a Violence Against Women and Girls Code of Practice in this Bill, which would make sure social media companies are better regulated, to prevent abuse perpetrated online and provide more robust responses to it. For the 1 in 3 women who have experienced online abuse, this change has the power to be transformative.

“A pause like this only serves to put the Bill’s future at risk and its progress should not be halted. By pausing this legislation now, there is the real danger that it could be weakened or scrapped all together.

“The government should now allow the Bill to conclude its progress through the Commons as soon as possible after recess so that it can move to the House of Lords without further delay, demonstrating that it remains a legislative priority.

“The new Prime Minister must commit to making women and girls’ safety online an urgent priority. Women cannot wait for the protections they need and deserve.”


Notes to editors

Full list of signatories:

  • Refuge
  • EVAW
  • Carnegie UK
  • Glitch
  • 5Rights
  • Suzy Lamplugh Trust
  • Professor Clare McGlynn

Interviews available on request. Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email

About Refuge
Refuge supports thousands of women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.

Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For support with tech abuse visit