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Supporting a Safer Internet 2: global survey of tech-facilitated gender-based violence

The voices of women and gender-diverse people are being silenced by harassment and targeted attacks online around the world. The prevalence of online gender-based violence is an exacerbating factor in digital exclusion and silences the free expression of women, girls and LGBTQI+ communities both online and on the ground in a circular cycle that is not well understood.

The first phase of the IDRC-supported initiative Supporting a Safer Internet: Global Survey of Gender-based Violence Online highlighted disturbing trends in 18 countries. These include effects on mental health, freedom of expression, interpersonal relationships and the ability to cope with everyday life. A startling 40% of victims surveyed had never sought help, either from personal circles or support organizations.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of statistically significant research on this issue in the Global South or what can prevent it, due in part to lower internet penetration rates and in part because logistical and capacity challenges increase costs. The fast pace of technological change and contextual differences in platforms used in different countries makes it challenging to design and evaluate responses that are appropriate to multiple regions and platforms.

The second phase of Supporting a Safer Internet will extend the surveys from the first phase to another 25 countries. The focus will continue to be technology-facilitated gender-based violence and harassment and will be accompanied by regional and country-level deep dives into the online experiences of women and LGBTQI+ people across the Global South. With this data, development, private sector and government actors can improve their responses to online gender-based violence through education programs, legal recourse or by regulating social media platforms.  

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Ruhiya Seward
Total Funding
CA$ 1,499,400.00
Institution Country
Project Leader
Aaron Shull
The Centre for International Governance Innovation

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