Abuse and Intimidation: Guidance for Candidates

Over 50 MPs stood down at the 2019 UK General Election, many saying this was at least in part due to abuse they had received. Women, in particular, suffer a disproportionate level of unacceptable behaviour.

Adeen (17) Dylan (15) and Layla (17) have collated these resources for candidates to help them if they have encountered abuse and intimidation both online and in real life. These students joined us for a week as part of a Speakers 4 Schools placement. 



Joint Guidance for Candidates in Elections

The Joint Guidance for Candidates in Elections, has been co-produced by the Electoral Commission, CPS, NPCC and the College of Policing has information with input from organisations including The Jo Cox Foundation.

The guide can be referred to when campaigning should you face abuse and intimidation. We recommend reading this guide - which includes information on contacting the police, protecting yourself, family and colleagues and specific legislative guidance - so that you are prepared should any instances of abuse arise.

Read the Guidance


The Internet Association

In the lead up to the 2019 election, the Internet Association wrote to the major social media companies to ask them their advice for candidates. Each social media platform responded individually with unique guidance for the actions to take when faced with abuse on their platforms.

Read the responses

Local Government Association

The LGA is developing a range of guidance and tools to support councillors and candidates in their online communications. Their infographics are a great way to quickly understand actions candidates should take and how to handle online abuse. 

Read more


Elections Pledge

Robust debate and scrutiny are essential aspects of public life; abuse and intimidation shouldn’t have to be. The pledge below draws on the wording of the Joint Statement on conduct for political party members, highlighting the need for a respectful campaign that fosters democratic debate and upholds the dignity of all candidates.

Take the Pledge


Joint Statement on Conduct for Political Parties

The Jo Cox Foundation has worked alongside the Committee on Standards in Public Life to agree a Joint Statement on Conduct of Political Party Members, which sets out the minimum standards of behaviour that can be expected from members at all times for parties that have signed on. It calls on party members to:

  • take responsibility for setting an appropriate tone for campaigning and communication;
  • lead by example to encourage and foster constructive democratic debate and tolerance of other points of view; and
  • promote and defend the dignity of others, including political opponents, treating all people with courtesy and respect.

Learn More


You can find the work experience social media work here: