Gender and the internet - Unpacking principles for responding to technology-related violence against women

When: Monday, 9 November 2015, 10:00 am -12:30 pm
Where: Workshop Room 8
Organiser: Association for Progressive Communications

While there has been increasing recognition of how technology-related violence against women impacts on women’s ability to access and benefit from the internet and other ICTs, there remains no broad agreement about how best to prevent and respond to this. At a very basic level there is a lack of understanding of what constitutes “online violence against women” and of the roles and responsibilities of states, intermediaries and other actors, as well as increasing concern that efforts to address online violence against women can compromise freedom of expression. This pre-event will bring together actors from the freedom of expression, privacy, women’s rights and sexual rights movements to a conversation with intermediaries and governments about how to respond to these concerns.

The pre-event will build on APCs multi-country research on technology-related VAW and access to justice, and ongoing work to develop a set of broad principles using the Due Diligence Framework: Framework on State Accountability to Eliminate Violence against Women, to guide the responses of states, intermediaries and other actors to this growing concern. Specifically, by the end of the meeting we anticipate to have identified five to six key issues that the principles will respond to.

We will focus on two key areas:

b) What is the role of the state in fulfilling its due diligence obligation to prevent, protect, prosecute, punish and provide redress to victims/survivors of technology-related VAW?
b) What does it mean for the private sector to practise due diligence in relation to addressing technology-related VAW?

Participants can look forward to discussions around:

  • What constitutes online VAW and how do we define it? What is the role of states beyond the creation of laws?
    What is the role of intermediaries in creating an enabling environment to prevent technology-related violence against women?
  • How do we extend the development of responses beyond criminalisation?
  • What is the notion of consent in privacy policy?
  • How do we define gender-based hate speech? What kinds of responses are required?
  • Should internet intermediaries have a limited responsibility to create a safe environment for women to access their platforms and protect their freedom of expression rights? Who should have oversight of this duty?
  • How can multi-sectoral approaches enhance the delivery of protection services (such as hotlines, shelters, medico-psycho-social services, protection orders) to victims/survivors of technology-related VAW?


a) A 45-minute panel discussion beginning with an input on the key issues and tensions in developing effective responses to technology-related VAW followed by reactions/responses from stakeholders, including the private sector, government and representatives from the freedom of expression and sexual rights movements.
b) A 15-minute Q & A
c) A 45-minute small group work session to respond to the key questions
d) Wrap-up.

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