Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Nicole Fox Fenlon, also known as Coco, whose mother Jackie Fox has campaigned for legislation to tackle online abuse.

A new law that would make online abuse a criminal offence could be in place by Christmas.

“Coco’s Law” is named after Nicole Fox Fenlon, a young woman who took her own life in 2018 following a period of online abuse.

Ms Fenlon, also known as Coco, suffered a campaign of bullying that prompted her mother Jackie Fox to campaign for more stringent laws.

Ms Fox handed in a petition to TDs in the Dáil earlier today, urging them to press ahead and pass the legislation.

“Just handing in the petition today, I was guaranteed now, I got an email from the Minister for Justice assuring me that Coco’s law will be in before Christmas, and other TDs and Ministers said it will be in well before Christmas,” Ms Fox said.

Criminal offences

Draft legislation of the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill has included a number of new criminal offences to crackdown on online bullying and harassment.

The offences include taking and distributing intimate images without consent; online or digital harassment; a specific offence of stalking; an expanded offence of sending threatening or indecent messages; and “revenge pornography”.

“They’re going to make online bullying a criminal offence where you could get up to seven years where it causes someone to self-harm or take their own life, it’s up to seven years and there’s a fine of I think 2,500,” Ms Fox said.

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