Katie Price tells MPs online abuse should be criminal offence

Katie Price told MPs that online abuse should be made a specific offence following social media attacks against her son.
Katie Price has launched a campaign against internet trolls. Picture: Ian West/PA WireKatie Price has launched a campaign against internet trolls. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire
Katie Price has launched a campaign against internet trolls. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

The TV personality also wants to see the creation of a register of offenders.

Price told the House of Commons Petitions Committee that a line should be drawn between “banter” and criminal abuse but that the law had failed to keep up with the changing use of technology and social media.

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Her 15-year-old son Harvey – who is partially blind, autistic and has Prader-Willi syndrome – was targeted on Twitter last year by an unnamed 19-year-old who received a caution from Sussex Police.

But Price told the MPs that police had been powerless to act in other cases.

“Even the police were really embarrassed because it got to the point where they couldn’t take it any further because they couldn’t charge them with anything because there is nothing in place, so they had to get dropped, the cases, basically,” she said.

“Since then it has just continued, it has got worse and worse – you name it, Harvey gets it.”

She said she had tried “naming and shaming” trolls herself but added “online is the future and there needs to be some more security checks”.

MPs triggered an inquiry into online abuse after Price started a petition which has been backed by more than 220,000 people.

Asked if she believed her high profile had contributed to the abuse, she said: “I am actually glad now that I have put myself in the public eye.

“I am extremely happy that I have shown Harvey because there are so many people – I get letters all the time – from people who have got children or family members with disabilities, they don’t know how to cope with it.”

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She added: “I’m proud of Harvey... If I wasn’t in the public eye, I would not be sitting here now because I would not have got 220,000 signatures in one week.

“So I’m actually glad throughout my career, whatever people think of me, this isn’t about me.

“Like me or hate me, I’m here to protect others and I’m actually glad – it might have taken me 25 years to achieve something by sitting here and if I can make a new law.”

Giving evidence with her mother Amy by her side, Price said that people had freedom of speech, “you can have banter” and “you can have your point of view about things”.

However, there was a point “where you sit down and draw a line.

“When does it become a criminal offence”.