The increasing reach of the internet, the rapid spread of mobile information, and the widespread use of social media, coupled with the existing pandemic of violence against women and girls (VAWG), has led to the emergence of cyber VAWG as a growing global problem with potentially significant economic and societal consequences.
Research shows that one in three women will have experienced a form of violence in her lifetime, and despite the relatively new and growing phenomenon of internet connectivity, it is estimated that one in ten women have already experienced a form of cyber violence since the age of 15. Access to the internet is fast becoming a necessity for economic well-being, and is increasingly viewed as a fundamental human right; therefore it is crucial to ensure that this digital public space is a safe and empowering place for everyone, including women and girls.
In order to better understand the nature and prevalence of cyber VAWG, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has recently conducted desk research that aimed to identify and analyse the existing research on different forms of cyber VAWG and assess the availability of survey and administrative data on the phenomenon. The findings of this research and the resulting recommendations form the basis of this paper.