DVCN - Domestic Violence Co-ordinators Network

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27th November 2017

More than a quarter of UK women experiencing online abuse and harassment receive threats of physical or sexual assault

Women in the UK are facing shocking levels of online abuse, including threats of physical and sexual assault, making them fear for their safety and causing them psychological distress, Amnesty International reveals in new research. A new Amnesty online poll asked 504 women aged 18-55 in the UK about their experiences of online abuse to investigate this emerging violation of women’s human rights.

One in five of the women Amnesty polled said they’d experienced abuse or harassment through social media. Young women aged between 18 to 24 are particularly affected, with more than one in three (37%) saying they’d experienced online abuse. The poll reveals the disturbing nature of this abuse. Of the women who said they’d experienced some form of online harassment or abuse: 

  • more than a quarter (27%) had received direct or indirect threats of physical or sexual violence;

  • almost half (47%) had experienced sexist or misogynistic abuse;

  • and 59% said the perpetrator was a stranger, compared with 27% who personally knew the offender.

The findings also show the impact this form of abuse is having on women’s physical safety and psychological well-being. Of the women polled who have experienced online abuse or harassment: 

  • one-third (36%) felt their physical safety had been threatened;

  • more than half (55%) suffered stress, anxiety or panic attacks; 

  • three out of five (61%) had trouble sleeping well;

  • two-thirds (67%) felt apprehensive when thinking about using social media; 

and one in five (20%) felt the online abuse threatened their job prospects.

23rd October 2018

Making Places Work for Women

Agenda launches a new report

23rd October 2018

Relationship and Sex Education

Relationship and Sex Education consultation response by EVAW