Violence against women and girls in the digital environment (VAWG) is not a new phenomenon, but it is rapidly escalating in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic as women’s lives shift to online work, education, access to services and social activities. While there are still significant gaps in the data, a global report shows prevalence ranging from 16% to 58%.
Online VAWG occurs as part of a continuum often associated with offline violence, and can encompass a variety of forms, including sexual harassment, stalking, zoom bombing, and these continue to multiply in a rapidly expanding digital context. The impact of online VAWG can be as harmful as offline violence, negatively impacting the health and well-being of women and girls, and having serious economic, social and political consequences.
This paper provides a brief overview of existing data and evidence on online and technology-enabled VAWGs, outlines some key developments, gaps, challenges and emerging promising practices, and makes recommendations for consideration by governments, international organisations, civil society organisations , and the technical department.