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UN report highlights growing online violence against women and girls, related research

December 09, 2022 at 4:03 PM

From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse –

The UN report examines new developments, gaps and trends in preventing and responding to violence against women, with a specific focus on violence against women and girls in digital contexts. UN Women has also published a brief on tackling online violence against women and girls.

UN report on violence against women and girls in digital contexts

The United Nations Secretary-General published a report for the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

The report, Intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women A/77/302 (2022), focuses on "...the urgent need to address violence against women and girls in digital contexts" and the broader work to eliminate violence against women in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent research from Aotearoa and Australia

Researchers interviewed 25 victim-survivors in Aotearoa New Zealand about their experiences of image-based sexual abuse. The participants, mostly women, described a range of experiences of image-based abuse with 68% of participants reporting the perpetrator was a partner or former partner, and for 52% of participants, there was a pattern of abuse and controlling behaviours. Few participants reported the abuse to police and some victim-survivors talked about receiving hostile and negative reactions after they disclosed their experiences to friends, family and others. The authors examined the limitations of the Harmful Digital Communications Act for addressing the experiences of the victim-survivors, noting "...the inadequacies of the legal framework for responding to the diverse experiences of image-based sexual abuse." Victim-survivors also identified a range of desired justice outcomes and responses, but all agreed on the "...importance of justice, redress and support – through formal justice avenues, such as police, or civil or criminal proceedings, as well as through more informal support avenues such as victim advocacy services or family, whānau, friends, workplaces or schools." The findings from the research were published in the article ‘Devastating, like it broke me’: Responding to image-based sexual abuse in Aotearoa New Zealand (2022) published in the Criminology & Criminal Justice journal. The research was part of a larger study about the experiences of victim-survivors of image-based abuse in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

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Category: Reports