News | Press Release

30 June 2023

Refuge comments on Online Safety Bill ammendments announced by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)

Speaking about amendments to the Online Safety Bill, today announced by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge said:

“Refuge welcomes this amendment to the Online Safety Bill which will place a brand-new requirement on legislators Ofcom to publish guidance for social media platforms to make online spaces safer for women and girls.

This joint campaign win is the result of two years of tireless campaigning across the violence against women and girls (VAWG) and children’s sectors.

Until now the Online Safety Bill made no reference to the abuse women experience day in day out online. We know that more than one in three women in the UK have experienced online abuse on social media or another online platform, that’s equivalent to 11 million women. While we still need to see the detail on what exactly the amendment includes, we are thrilled to see women and girls finally acknowledged and recognised within this Bill, which is groundbreaking legislation and has the real power to improve women’s safety online.

Through the power of shared voice and joint action with survivors, academics, sector partners, and supporters we hope to have achieved real change for women and girls to be protected on online spaces. Our aim has always been to have an Online Safety Bill that specifically protects women and girls from these online harms which is why we campaigned for a VAWG Code of Practice to recognise the myriad of ways women and girls are harmed and abused online.

It is a disappointment that the government have not agreed to implement a code which would have been a strong tool to hold social media platforms to account but our hope is that this amendment and additional guidance to Ofcom will make a real difference to survivors of this insidious and frequent abuse and send a strong message that violence against women and girls is a serious crime offline and online.”


For more information or to arrange an interview contact the press office on 0207 395 7731 or email

About Refuge:

Refuge supports thousands of women and their children on any given day, and every two minutes someone looks to Refuge for help. Refuge 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 on average two women are killed by a current or former partner a week.

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