Pro bono legal aid, helpline among planned initiatives to help victims of online harms

Katie R. Ochoa

SINGAPORE – Victims of on-line harms can hope several products and services devoted to supporting them, these as totally free legal support and a helpline, to be accessible by the end of 2022.

Online harms involve being stalked almost and cyber bullied, and befriended by men and women who use fake identities.

The impending initiatives were being revealed at an celebration organised by Sunlight AfA, also known as the Singapore Alongside one another Alliance for Action to tackle on-line harms, specially all those specific at girls and women, on Wednesday (July 27).

The cross-sector alliance, begun by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) in July 2021, had a 1-yr tenure that finished on Wednesday.

But some of its do the job will keep on, such as an arrangement with the Regulation Society Professional Bono Products and services to have about 100 volunteer legal professionals provide professional bono aid through legal clinics to victims of on the internet harms.

Information of the scheme, this kind of as how victims can signal up for the authorized clinics, are nonetheless in the performs, but it is expected to be operational by the conclude of this yr.

Madam Hazlina Abdul Halim, who is president of non-financial gain organisation Singapore Muslim Women’s Affiliation and a member of Daylight AfA, stated the assistance will be administered by charity SG Her Empowerment (She), which was established up in April by many users of Sunlight AfA.

The charity will also get the job done with the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations to give support solutions to victims, this kind of as a devoted helpline.

Other initiatives in the performs by the charity involve a handbook on on the internet harms.

This will be made use of to aid schooling classes for She staff and experienced counsellors in its lover organisations to support victims, said Madam Hazlina.

The unveiling of these long term plans follows MCI’s announcement in June on proposed regulations to boost online basic safety for users.

The new proposed rules contain demanding designated social media platforms to carry out local community criteria and content moderation processes, so as to minimise users’ threat of publicity to harming on line written content. A public consultation on them is ongoing.

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