CHANGES to the strength of sentences being handed out to internet trolls have been welcomed.
Justice secretary Chris Grayling has announced that the current maximum term of six-months in jail will be quadrupled to two years.
Trolling is a issue that has been tackled at length by Burton MP Andrew Griffiths, since a severe case arose in 2012.
Bridget Agar, the Tutbury-based mother of Jordan, who died aged 16 after a moped crash in 2012, suffered from internet trolls who sent messages through social media.
Mrs Agar’s case saw Mr Griffiths raise the issue in a debate in the House of Commons, imploring for more to be done in the fight against the internet abusers.
After the news that sentences will now be toughened, Andrew Griffiths, said: “It’s something I’ve spent a long time campaigning for, and I welcome the changes the government is proposing.
“People think they can hide behind the anonymity of being online to say very cruel things.
“The distress this can cause is devastating, and can ruin the life of the person being victimised.
“Stronger sentences as a deterrent are certainly extremely welcome.”
The internet troll who harassed Mrs Agar was given a police caution, and the individual’s name was not released to the press.
Mrs Agar said at the time of the caution that justice had not been served.
She said: “I’m not going to stand for him getting a slap on the wrist. I want justice for Jordan.
“What he did was absolutely appalling. All I’ve ever asked for is for him to be named and shamed.”
Internet abuse has become increasingly prominent in recent years, with the abuse of television presenter Chloe Madeley, and the parents of Madeleine McCann getting significant coverage in national newspapers.
Former South Derbyshire MP Edwina Currie, who has experienced online abuse, recently spoke out against trolling in an interview with the BBC.
Mrs Currie emphasised that people know when they are saying something nice, in the same way they know when they are being nasty.
She doesn’t believe education is an issue, and thinks that it is right that society is taking a dim view of those that take to sites like Twitter to troll the vulnerable.
By Rob Helliwell (Burton Mail)