Online Abuse And Domestic Violence In The UK

  • While shocking, it is sadly unsurprising that technology is being used to accompany domestic abuse.

    According to new research published by Women's Aid, nearly half of all women survivors of domestic violence have experienced online abuse during their relationship.

    • In a survey of 307 women who had all experienced violence at the hands of a partner, 48% reported experiencing harassment or online abuse once they had left the relationship.
    • 38% of women said they had been stalked online after they had left their partners.
    • In 2013, highly publicised instances of harassment and stalking revealed a shocking level of online misogynistic abuse.
    • Women's Aid research also found that around 45% of women who experience domestic abuse were also attacked online.
    • "Two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner" - Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid

    Earlier this week, the Guardian also uncovered statistics which revealed 10,000 women were at risk of death in their own homes.

    • According to 44 police forces across England, Wales and Scotland, around 10,952 women are at risk of murder or severe injury.

    IBTimes, UK reported what Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said:

    "Two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner, so it is hardly surprising that a large number of women are considered by police to be at high risk of death or serious injury."

    Neate further expressed her worry:

    "The majority of women experiencing domestic violence never report it to the police out of fear or because they don't believe the police can help;

    Those that do are often not adequately assessed for domestic violence risk.

    Even worse, we know that even being assessed as being at high risk doesn't mean a woman will necessarily receive the necessary protection."

    The problem, as revealed in the latest study, shows this issue extends to online abuse.

    • Around three-quarters of the women polled said they were concerned that the police were unaware of how to respond to online harassment from a partner.
    • In addition, 12% said they had not been helped after seeking help.
    • Figures released from Scotland Yard revealed 40% of victims of domestic violence homicides were also stalked online.

    IBTimes in finding out the root cause as well as remedies for victims of domestic violence said:

    Online abuse, harassment, stalking and domestic violence go hand in hand. It is fed by misogyny and negative attitudes towards women, which make up the root cause of the problem.

    From the individual social media user to the government - this attitude towards women needs to be addressed at all levels before the violence will end. 

    Then, and only then, will the menacing messages of "I will find you" be empty threats.

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