Online harms: Interim findings from an international review

Date & time

9–10pm Wednesday 9 December 2020



Josie Cochrane (Catch22)

Presented by Catch22

Panel discussion
Online harms

Ongoing discussions surrounding the UK's Online Harms Bill, the Age Appropriate Design Code produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, and investigations conducted by the Children’s Commissioner of England and Wales and other organisations, have shone attention directly onto the existing processes of content regulation, age verification and industry responsibility.

Catch22 is a charity operating across the UK supporting young people and their families and, for them, the issue of online harms is exponentially increasing. Since COVID-19, children and young people have not just wanted to be online, they have relied on the online world for both social and educational purposes. Social media brings opportunities, but it is also a recognised catalyst for youth violence and exploitation. With young people confined to their homes and screens once again, Catch22’s frontline practitioners are acutely aware of young people being confined at home without the same supervision they would usually encounter.

In June 2020, the Catch22 Online Harms Consultation gathered insights from young social media users, tech platforms, youth services and experienced youth workers, on how violence and exploitation are occurring as a result of online behaviour, whether services are, or are not, prepared in addressing and preventing online harms.

This Consultation has been followed by an ongoing Catch22 Online Harms and Regulation research project led by Dr Faith Gordon at The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law, reviewing young peoples’ experiences of online harms, how acceptable use policies differ between platforms, and the challenges for enforcement here and overseas for any future regulation. This event will be discussing some of the interim findings. It will bring together expertise to consider the:

  • experiences and concerns of children and young people for any future regulation of social media;
  • impact of COVID-19 on the types of online harm and levels of victimisation, as well as the support currently available; and
  • legislative proposals in the UK and learnings from other jurisdictions who have implemented changes.


  • Dame Vera Baird »

    Vera Baird

    Dame Vera is the UK Victims Commissioner and responsible for championing the interests of crime victims and witnesses and reviewing the operation of the Victims Code of Practice. She draws upon a wealth of experience combining political, legal and policy expertise and, as former Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, was renowned for being a strong voice in the North East, speaking up for Police, partners and communities.

    After serving as Solicitor General from 2007 until 2010, Dame Vera now serves in many voluntary roles, including as an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law at Northumbria University and a Visiting Professor of Legal Practice at Newcastle University. In 2017 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to women and equality.

  • David Jordan Khanu »

    David Jordan Khanu

    Jordan is a member of the Young Peoples’ Advisory Panel for the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, working to make London a safer place for future generations. He has been heavily involved in the Catch22 research project, helping to shape the research questions for interviewees, as well as feeding into the workshops. Jordan is currently studying his A-levels in Business, Physical Education and Psychology, and aspires to be a role model for future generations, helping other young people achieve their dreams.

  • Dr Faith Gordon »

    Faith Gordon

    With a background in both law and criminology, Dr Faith Gordon is leading Catch22’s current research into children and young people’s experience of social media, online harms, and the challenges facing law enforcement professionals. She is currently a senior lecturer at the ANU College of Law, with ongoing positions at the University of London's Information Law and Technology Centre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies London and at the University of Westminster. She has written a book discussing mainstream media, regulation and children and has written a number of peer-reviewed articles exploring the impact of online harms on young people in conflict with the law, children's rights and regulatory frameworks. Dr Gordon has been active in assisting in major legal cases advocating for children and young people in relation to social media companies, release of imagery and mainstream media.

  • Professor Lorna Woods OBE »

    Lorna Woods OBE is Professor of Internet Law at the University of Essex and a member of the Human Rights Centre there. She teaches internet and data protection law and copyright law and has also taught media law, competition law and EU law. She started her career as a practising solicitor in a technology, media and telecommunications practice and has extensive experience in the field of media policy and communications regulation, including data protection, social media and the Internet, and she has published widely in this area. Her current work with Carnegie UK Trust is on the development of a statutory duty of care for online harm reduction and she was awarded an OBE in 2020 in recognition of her work.  

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