Nicky Morgan: Government will tackle homophobic abuse on the internet

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Equalities minister Nicky Morgan says homophobic abuse online is just as illegal as away from the keyboard.

In a move that will terrify Twitter trolls everywhere, the Conservative Minister for Women and Equalities confirmed to Parliament that abuse targeting LGBT people will be taken seriously, whatever the medium.

MP Andrew Bridgen asked in Parliament today: “What support the Government provides for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who receive abuse or harassment online?”

Mrs Morgan replied: “The Government are absolutely clear that abusive and threatening behaviour online, whoever the target, is unacceptable.

“What is illegal offline is also illegal online. My Department has funded the development of a new website, Stop Online Abuse, which launched on 17 June.

“It provides advice on action that individuals, particularly LGBT people, can take against offensive, damaging or threatening content online and in other media.”

Speaking about homophobic bullying in schools, she added: “No young person should ever feel that they are not able to be honest about themselves and their sexuality for fear of bullying. Tackling all forms of bullying is a priority.

“We have awarded £2 million to charities and community sector organisations, to help schools tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.”

The minister continued: “I am lucky enough to hold two Government jobs and am able to bring them together on this particular issue and provide £2 million of funding to pilot projects across the country to work with schools in order to stamp out unacceptable homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

“The secret seems to be to take a whole-school approach, with everybody from the head to the teachers and pupils knowing exactly that that sort of behaviour is unacceptable.”