Web filtering will harm LGBT young people and vulnerable adults

Broken Rainbow UK, the LGBT domestic violence charity, today joins other LGBT, sexual health, advice, education, and human rights organisations in calling for proposals for default-on web blocking to be reconsidered. Diverse organisations including Trans Media Watch, GIRES, GMFA, Schools Out, LGF, LGBT Consortium and Stonewall Housing are deeply concerned about the risks and potential for harm posed by measures outlined last week by the Prime Minister.

One of the key areas of concern with the proposals is over-blocking: there are already plenty of unnecessary restrictions from schools, local authorities, and libraries that do not allow people to access content that is useful, legal, and sometimes vital for people to access the support they need around issues such as sexual health, pregnancy advice, sex and relationship education. The extra filters will only worsen this access even if the Government is suggesting that there will be a “White List” of allowed sites.

Broken Rainbow is particularly worried about the harmful impact that such filters would have on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* people experiencing domestic violence and abuse – whether from partners or family – as for many the internet is the first or the only source of information and support.

Milena Popova, Broken Rainbow Trustee, said, “My main concern is that the proposed web filters are highly unlikely to fulfil their stated purpose. Children and young people will continue to have access to pornography while parents are lulled into a false sense of security. At the same time, young people will find it more difficult to access information they desperately need, for instance on sexual health or LGBT issues. There are better, more effective ways to protect young people, including statutory, comprehensive sex and relationships education.”

Federico Podeschi, Broken Rainbow CEO, said, “Whilst we fully support initiatives that reduce risk and harm for young people, vulnerable adults, and LGBT people experiencing domestic violence and abuse, we need to ensure that more effort and investment is made to understand and consider the needs of the LGB and Trans* communities. We urge the Prime Minister and the Government to reconsider this proposal and the impact it might have especially on those that have less access to appropriate and inclusive information, education, and support: this should be the focus of the proposal rather than restricting access further.”


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