Fiona Drouet concerned over ‘detachment from compassion’ of many modern Britons

© Heather FowlieFiona Drouet, outside Aberdeen Sheriff Court with husband Germain,
Fiona Drouet, outside Aberdeen Sheriff Court with husband Germain,

Fiona Drouet knows more than most people about the impact verbal and physical abuse can have on youngsters.

Her daughter, Emily, killed herself at Aberdeen University in 2016, after months of ill-treatment at the hands of her boyfriend, Angus Milligan.

The latter admitted his guilt in court and was sentenced to 180 hours of community service, but Mrs Drouet has subsequently campaigned with national education bodies for new safeguards to protect young people.

She said yesterday she was distressed at the manner in which social media was proving so effective at providing a “detachment from compassion”.

Mrs Drouet added: “There is an increasing section of society who feel perfectly enabled to display abusive behaviour and do so, both online and publicly.

“Social media plays a significant role as it detaches the user from reality – they are often encouraged to continue their campaigns of abuse either through supportive comments or people turning a blind eye.

“The relative anonymity that social media offers provides a platform where hatred can breed.

“Many people are scared to voice their true opinions because there is always someone ready to criticise and ridicule them.

“People seem to be attracted to the ‘drama’ of situations instead of considering the very real and serious effect which it has on their victims.

“We have a growing number of individuals who sadly place their own social media status ahead of morals and empathy.

“This might spring from a reluctance to raise their head above the parapet, jealousy, or it could be because they have a complete detachment from compassion.

“Significant issues arise with the lines blurring between a virtual world and the real one and since the internet isn’t going anywhere, we have to ensure that we are educating people in how to respond to such hatred.

“Strong sanctions for hate crimes have to be enforced.”