Cyber violence (or: digital violence, tech-facilitated abuse) against women and girls is an emerging global problem, with 73% of women worldwide experiencing some form of cyber violence.
Often digital violence is a continuation of violence perpetrated offline. Abusive partners can use cyber violence to extend their offline abuse and control every aspect of their partner’s life. Cyber violence prevents women and girls from accessing the internet, and causes physical, psychological, economic and social harm.
What needs to change?
Cyber violence against women and girls has not been fully conceptualised, defined or legislated against at the EU level. This must change! EU Member States must find a consensus on what constitutes gender-based cyber violence and how it should be pursued. Law enforcement must then receive the training, resources and mandate to pursue this violence effectively.
Additionally, the public must learn about cyber violence and ways of stopping it. Greater awareness will enable victimised women and girls to recognize cyber violence and seek support. Everybody must understand that cyber violence is “real” violence with very serious consequences.