The vast majority of the British public thinks that websites encouraging or helping people to commit suicide should be banned, according to our poll. This comes as two people in Essex carried out a suicide pact last week, after allegedly meeting online in a forum for those contemplating suicide.
- 75% of the population think that internet sites encouraging people to commit suicide should be banned.
- 15% think such sites should not be banned. Interestingly, our poll reveals differing opinions on such sites across gender and generation divides.
- A substantial 84% of women think that such sites should be banned, compared to just 7% who say they should not be banned.
- However approval ratings for a ban are notably lower among men, of whom 66% think that the websites should be banned while nearly a quarter (23%) do not.
- Older people are more likely than young people to think the sites should be banned. 65% of 18-24 year olds would agree with a ban, compared to 83% of those over 60. ‘Suicide partners’The Samaritans this week issued a warning against ‘death pact forums’, used by people to get advice on suicide methods and find ‘suicide partners’ to join or assist them in ending their lives. Joanne Lee, 34, and Stephen Lumb, 35, were found dead inside a car in Essex on Monday, after allegedly meeting through such a forum. Lee, using the name ‘Heavens Little Girl [sic]’, had posted a message that appeared to suggest she was looking for a ‘suicide partner’.Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of The Samaritans, told the BBC this week that ‘it is illegal to encourage or assist people to take their own lives - be it on the internet or in any other space - but it is unclear how this legislation can be applied and policed.’The Samaritans stresses that anyone contemplating suicide should talk to friends, family, a GP or call their 24/7 helpline on 08457 90 90 90 (UK) or 1850 60 90 90 (Republic of Ireland).Survey details and full results