Legislation on so-called ‘suicide websites’ is to be tightened to emphasise the criminality of promoting suicide. The move follows concerns that vulnerable people searching for information on suicide are more likely to find sites encouraging the act than offering support.
In April, the British Medical Journal reported on a study in which researchers used four search engines to look for suicide-related sites. The three most frequently occurring sites were all pro-suicide. The researchers are now calling for anti-suicide web pages to be prioritised.
It is illegal under the 1961 Suicide Act to promote suicide, but no website operator has been prosecuted despite the existence of sites endorsing and encouraging the act.