It’s time to do something about pro-suicide websites

As of 2009 there is now a single offence:

  • The offence will apply where a person does an act which is capable of encouraging or assisting another person to commit or attempt to commit suicide, and intends his act to so encourage or assist.
  • The person committing the offence need not know the other person or even be able to identify themIn the context of websites promoting suicide, this is an important point.
  • It is highly unlikely that the author of such a site will know the identity of those who access the website. But if he intends that one or more of his readers will commit or attempt to commit suicide then he is guilty of an offence.

Some concerns were expressed during the passage of the legislation about the application of the new provisions to situations where emotionally vulnerable people engage in detailed discussions with one another about suicide methods in online chat rooms or social networking sites. However, the new provisions have no implications for these situations beyond the scope of the previous law.

We believe that linking to a pro-suicide website should be a criminal offence.

So any person making a posting to an online chat room or social networking site which intentionally encourages another person to commit or attempt to commit suicide may be guilty of an offence.

But simply providing information about or discussing the issue of suicide through the Internet (or any other medium), where there is no such intent, is not an offence.

Is a link not an act which is capable of encouraging or assisting another person to commit or attempt tocommit suicide, and intends his act to so encourage or assist?

This would include the search engine results pages displayed by the likes of Google.

It also would include links put in place by ordinary users ofthe Internet on their websites and social networking profile pages

Google and other major searchengines know which sites link to which so identifying ‘illegal’ links would be easy with their cooperation.

Join our campaign to make linking to or liking a pro-suicide website a criminal offence.