The domestic legal remedies research examined existing remedies operated by the state for survivors of technology-related violence against women (VAW) . The research focused on three elements: the adequacy and effectiveness of remedies provided, the culture of impunity, and survivors’ own agency and power.


Explore the 5 misconceptions that hinder victims access to justice

Over 60% of reported cases of online violence against women (VAW) are not investigated by authorities.

49% of survivors of online VAW turn first to the police, but their reports are often trivialised

1. “Online violence is not a serious offence”

In fact, they are both part of the same continuum. Just as violence is used to silence, control and keep women out of public spaces offline, women's and girls' experiences online reflect the same pattern.

2. "Online VAW is not 'real' or harmful"

Mental cruelty and psychological violence are recognised in international law and most national jurisdictions and lead to real harms. Moreover, sometimes VAW extends from online to offline, causing physical harm.

3. “Online VAW should be addressed only through technological means”

A common fallacy is that prevention and redress should be directly connected with the offence. However, protection orders against perpetrators of online VAW are more effective than blocking or disabling accounts when the perpetrators can easily open new ones.

4. “There are no legal remedies for VAW online”

Summary of existing laws
that may address technology-related VAW
CEDAW ratification Gender equality law VAW law ICT-VAW law Civil remedies Cyber-crime law

The applicability of existing laws is limited due to:

  • lack of recognition of psychological harms
  • perception of VAW as a morality issue
  • narrowing VAW to sexual offences
  • limited recognition of VAW within cyber-crime laws
  • lack of coordination between state agencies.

5. “Freedom of expression is more important than freedom from violence”

Online VAW is situated within a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to believe they can get away with attacks. Such impunity is exacerbated by so-called commitments to free speech that fail to recognise how women are silenced by online VAW. Ignoring women's human rights puts everyone's rights in jeopardy.

The culture of impunity results from:

  • viewing women as second-class citizens
  • victim blaming and disregard for victims' privacy
  • authorities' lack of training and corrupt legal systems
  • lack of political will to address VAW
  • class, caste, ethnicity, race of survivors
  • difficult environments in countries emerging from post-war conflicts
  • cultural pressure from religious neo-conservative parties.

A frequent misconception is that online violence is not a serious offence, It is distinct from offline VAW.

They are part of the same continuum. Just as violence is used to silence, control and keep women out of public spaces offline, women and girls' experience the same patterns online.

10 recommendations for policy makers

1. Adopt a comprehensive definition of VAW that includes psychological violence and addresses the role of online VAW.

2. Amend outdated laws that frame VAW as a morality issue.

3. Recognise women's bodily autonomy and right to self-determination.

4. Balance rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and freedom from violence and harassment for all individuals.

5. Offer means of swift redress for survivors and expand remedies beyond the online space.

6. Extend laws to LGBTQ individuals, who are also targets of technology-related violence.

7. Allocate adequate budgets to work on VAW.

8. Ensure training on online VAW for the police and judiciary staff.

9. Build awareness on the implications of technology-related VAW among users, internet service providers and social networking platforms.

10. Create an enabling environment for women’s access to and enjoyment of ICTs.