An autistic man is campaigning to make the bullying of people with learning disabilities illegal.
Kevin Healey, a radio presenter for Autism Radio UK, wants to make bullying a prosecutable offence and already has the backing of a number of celebrities.
Ricky Gervais has got behind Kevin's cause and said: 'Please support Kevin Healey’s campaign. Bullying has to stop.'Katie Price's 10-year-old son, Harvey, has learning disabilities, and has been the subject of internet trolling. She too is keen for laws to be changed.
She said: 'I support Kevin’s campaign for anti-autism bullying. So many people with autism get bullied.
'I do not want my son Harvey to grow up and be bullied and will not stand for it. Kevin is 38 and it’s disgraceful that ignorant and narrow minded people are bullying him and others.
'Kevin wants children and adults with learning difficulties to be better protected from bullying.'Current law means that if a mentally disabled person reports bullying or harassment, police log it as a 'hate crime' but are not obliged to follow-up the complaint - unless violence is threatened.
They are also powerless to act against people who troll from outside the UK.
Kevin wants police to be able to prosecute the perpetrators for these hate crimes, even if they do not physically hurt the person.‘People who are autistic like me take things far more literally and become anxious much more easily than most,’ he said.
‘Bullying behaviour such as taunting people in the street or sending offensive emails are distressing for everyone but it can affect those with learning disabilities far more.’literally and become anxious much more easily than most,’ he said. ‘Bullying behaviour such as taunting people in the street or sending offensive emails are distressing for everyone but it can affect those with learning disabilities far more.’
He has received backing for his campaign from numerous celebrities including Melanie Sykes, Luke Goss, Michael Barrymore and former TOWIE star Lydia Bright.
Alongside the celebrity support, Simon Sugar, Sir Alan Sugar's son, is helping Kevin organise the campaign.
Kevin, from Stoke-on-Trent, has been the victim of bullying since he was a child and continues to be cyber-bullied. Just 14 months ago he received a death threat via email.Because the troll emailed him from abroad, police were unable to follow up the case, saying they would only be able to take action if Kevin was actually hurt.
Kevin was so frightened he did not leave his house for three months.
After Kevin has managed to tighten laws in the UK, he wants to drive change in international law, making death threats from abroad a punishable offence.
He has set up an online petition and if he gets 100,000 signatures, MPs will debate the possibility of amending existing British law in parliament.
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