A SURVIVOR of child abuse from Yorkshire who campaigned for online safety legislation has welcomed the passing of the Online Safety Bill.

The legislation, which has been years in the drafting, imposes new legal duties on big tech companies and service providers.

The responsibility for oversight will sit with communications regulator Ofcom.

The reforms come in response to continuing concern about youngsters accessing pornographic content online, child sexual abuse in cyberspace and the impact of harmful material on social media, which has led young people to take their lives.

One survivor, Frida* from Yorkshire, who has campaigned with the children's charity NSPCC, said: “I was groomed online by a man in his 30s, I was only 13 and it continued until I was 18.

“It left me with long-term depression and anxiety and at times I felt suicidal.

“That’s why we need the new Online Safety Bill, to stop this happening to other 13-year-olds.”

NSPCC Chief Executive Sir Peter Wanless said: “We are absolutely delighted to see the Bill being passed through Parliament.

“It is a momentous day for children and will finally result in the ground-breaking protections they should expect online.

“At the NSPCC we hear from children about the completely unacceptable levels of abuse and harm they face online every day.

“That’s why we have campaigned strongly for change alongside brave survivors, families, young people and parliamentarians to ensure the legislation results in a much safer online world for children.

“Children can benefit greatly from life online.

“Tech companies can now seize the opportunity to embrace safety by design.

“The NSPCC is ready to help them listen to and understand the online experiences of their young users to help ensure every child feels safe and empowered online.”

In August this year, the NSPCC revealed 34,000 online grooming crimes were recorded by UK police in the past six years while the legislation was being discussed, including more than 2,600 in Yorkshire and the Humber. 

The bill passed through Parliament of Tuesday, September 19.

*All names and potentially identifying details have been changed.