Technology-related violence against women – Recent legislative trends
, August 2014
This study seeks to explore recent legislative developments aimed at addressing and providing avenues of redress for technology-related violence against women. We explore the objectives, structure and application of four domestic legislative responses to different forms of violence against women, seeking to understand how domestic legislatures are responding to increasing awareness of violence against women online.
The key questions that this report has sought to ask of the legislation include:
1. What is the background to the legislation? Why was it introduced?
2. What was the legislative history of the legislation? What changes were made during the legislative process, and why?
3. What recourse is available through the legislation? Does it criminalise offences related to violence against women online? What provisions are in place to ensure that victims of technology-related violence have access to justice?
4. What are the main critiques of the legislation? What are its primary failings? Has it been successfully applied/invoked to date?
This report analyses the following pieces of legislation:
1. The South African Protection from Harassment Act 2010;
2. The Nova Scotia (Canada) Cyber Safety Act 2013;
3. The California (United States) SB 255 Electronic Communication Devices: Prohibited Distribution of Personal Information; and
4. The New Zealand Harmful Digital Communications Bill 2013.
Analysis of each act is broken down into the following sections
2) Background to the legislation;
3) Legislative history;
4) Recourse available through the Act; and
5) Analysis and critique.
The report concludes with a brief synthesis of the common themes running through the legislation, and an analysis of what recent legislative trends suggest about the future development of legislative protections against violence against women online.
This research is part of the APC “End violence: Women´s rights and online safety” project funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) and is based on a strong alliance with partners in seven countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, and Philippines. For more information visit GenderIT.org and Take Back the Tech!