The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission calls for action to tackle online violence against women on International Women’s Day
The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day, this year’s theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” highlights the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online gender-based violence.
Violence against women including in an online environment can take many forms, including cyber abuse and harassment, cyber stalking, revenge porn, as well as threats of physical harm. According to research, 58% of young women have experienced gender-based online harassment. Online violence not only causes psychological harm and suffering, it also violates women’s rights, including rights to safety, freedom of expression and participation in public life.
Alyson Kilpatrick, Chief Commissioner of Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission said:
“Advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address human rights challenges and improve social, economic and political outcomes for women and girls. However, it has also given rise to profound new challenges that perpetuate and deepen existing patterns of gender inequalities. Online violence and abuse may limit women’s rights to express themselves equally, freely and without fear, and can have the effect of silencing women.”
“It is crucial that digital spaces are a safe and empowering place for everyone, including women and girls. The Commission supports recommendations in the Istanbul Convention that encourages the information and communication technology sector to implement policies and self-regulatory standards to prevent violence against women and to enhance respect for their dignity.”
In November 2022, the Istanbul Convention came into force in the UK to prevent and combat violence against women and girls and domestic violence. The Convention calls for the adoption of comprehensive legal and practical measures that offer a ‘holistic response’, supporting the Convention’s four broad aims: prevention of violence, protecting victims, prosecution of perpetrators and implementation of coordinated policies.
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Research quoted: 'Cyberviolence against women’, Council of Europe, https://www.coe.int/en/web/cyberviolence/cyberviolence-against-women
About the Istanbul Convention
In November 2022, the Istanbul Convention came into force in the UK.
Istanbul Convention Article 17 – Participation of the private sector and media
- Parties shall encourage the private sector, the information and communication technology sector and the media, with due respect for freedom of expression and their independence, to participate in the elaboration and implementation of policies and to set guidelines and self-regulatory standards to prevent violence against women and to enhance respect for their dignity.
For more information see: https://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/home