Female councillors install panic buttons after abuse

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Female Sheffield councillors - including Council Leader Julie Dore - have had panic buttons installed in their homes after suffering horrendous abuse online.

Coun Dore was whisked away to a safe house for four days and had police officers stationed outside her home for a fortnight after one terrifying episode.

And Coun Jayne Dunn feared she would be raped after someone abused her online then broke into her property.

Another unnamed female councillor was called “a fat sweaty-faced” then a swear word. Male councillors have received tweets saying “somebody shoot him” and there was a #ditchthebitch hashtag, again aimed at a female councillor.

The shocking revelations were discussed in the council chamber after a member of the public asked what the council was doing to protect people from “vile” online abuse.

Coun Julie Dore said: “I had to leave my home and go to a safe house for four days then I had a police car parked outside for two weeks and a panic alarm installed for several months. An injunction was taken out against someone but it was a very distressing situation.”

Coun Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said she had been “absolutely petrified" by an online stalker.

”I had to have a panic alarm after someone broke into my property and left me gifts. I feel exposed as a woman, I don’t deserve to get sexual abuse over the internet.

“I live alone and it was extremely frightening. My parents don’t like me doing this job because they are so worried about my safety. This behaviour has to stop.”

The man in charge of the controversial tree felling, Coun Bryan Lodge, said: “I’ve had things shoved through my letterbox, anonymous emails and been shouted at in the street.

“There are 84 members on this council who put themselves forward to serve the public but these keyboard warriors hide behind anonymity and don’t have the decency to come and say things directly to us.”

And Coun Jack Scott said no one should have to put up with abuse. “These are horrific experiences and this kind of language seems to have become acceptable on social media but we will not back down. I have spent my entire life standing up to bullies and I won’t stop now.”