Irish MEP calls for EU-wide law on cyberbullying, as mother of victim raises awareness in Brussels

·2-min read

The sad story of an Irish girl who took her own life in 2018 could still see a great achievement materialise in the fight against cyberbullying

Nicole 'Coco' Fox hanged herself at age of 21, after being abused physically and online for three years.

Since then, her mother Jackie has been relentlessly campaigning to promote legislation that punishes bullying. In 2021 Ireland adopted the so-called Coco’s law, with up to seven years in jail for those who distribute or publish intimate images of a person without consent. Now, Jackie’s battle is being taken up at a European level.

"So, online abuse is much worse than the physical abuse, because once it gets inside your head, you know, your mental health is all messed up," the mother of Nicole, Jackie Fox, told Euronews.

"It's so much harder to get it out of your head mentally online than physical abuse. That's from her experience."

"There are people in prison right now under Coco's law. There are 105 people up for prosecution. So many people under investigation," Fox added.

"So, I think it shouldn't be only in Ireland: if this law has worked the way it has in Ireland, why not bring it Europe-wide?"

Other countries have already started to tackle cyberbullying, such as Italy and France. But some MEPs, including Frances Fitzgerald from Ireland, would like to have a common EU framework.

"Some other countries have partial legislation, but what we're saying now is that we need comprehensive legislation right across Europe," she said in an interview with Euronews.

"We need a European law, European directive to ensure that we are dealing effectively with cyberbullying because it leads to death."

The EPP Group in the European Parliament have said they will request a debate on cyberbullying in the next plenary agenda in Strasbourg so that Jackie Fox can bring her daughter’s story also to MEPs.