Emily Atack’s aunt addresses ‘very hard time’ after facing sexual harassment

Emily Atack in tears talking to mum in BBC documentary

Emily Atack’s famous aunt Amy Robbins has praised her niece for the way she handles herself after being a target of unwanted sexual attention over the years.

The actress explored why she was sexually harassed online on a daily basis in her documentary Emily Atack: Asking For It? earlier this year, which Amy says was a “hard watch” for the family.

In the BBC documentary, Emily, 33, told viewers that she woke up to messages from men who expose their private parts amongst other unwanted content on a daily basis.

Scrolling through her phone on camera, the actress said such messages were “the ultimate disrespect” and said some of the online misogyny “feels like sexual assault”.

At one point, she was also seen breaking down to her mum Kate Robbins as she admitted some experiences online and in real life had left her “damaged”.

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The ex I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! star said she decided to make the documentary to speak up for women in the same situation and called for cyberflashing and abuse to become a criminal offence.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Coronation Street actress Amy said of her niece’s film: “It was very hard [to watch] and very hard for her to make I’m sure.

“But I’m so glad she did make it because she made some important points and she’s actually contributed to changing the law which is an incredible thing.

“I’m very proud of her for doing that, she’s a brave girl, a clever girl.

“She handles herself very well.”

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According to Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, it is an offence for any person to send a communication that is “indecent or grossly offensive” for the purpose of causing “distress or anxiety to the recipient”.

The Act also extends to threats and information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender of the communication.

A person found guilty of this offence is liable to receive a prison sentence of up to six months, a fine (currently of up to £5,000) or even both.

Online harassment can also be a criminal offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

Emily met with MPs back in 2021 to voice her concerns over cyberflashing not being taken seriously enough.

At the time, violence against women and girls was not explicitly named in the Online Safety Bill.

After the meeting, Emily told Grazia Magazine: “It’s hard to think something isn’t going to happen.

“When you’re sat there in a room like that, with such important people, it’s hard to believe they’re going to wake up tomorrow and just crack on with something else.

“I mean, I’m sure they are – but it’s nice to know that it’s being considered.”

Cyberflashing has since become a criminal offence and perpetrators could face up to two years behind bars under new laws.

A representative for Emily told Express.co.uk that she will continue to work with MPs to highlight the issue, most recently meeting with Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer.

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