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Article

25 Nov 2021

Author:
Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO), Council of Europe

Council of Europe's experts adopts Recommendation on combating violence against women in digital age, calls on both governments and companies to play their part

"Combating violence against women in a digital age utilising the Istanbul Convention: GREVIO General Recommendation No.1 on the Digital Dimension of Violence against Women", 24 November 2021

[... The Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) adopted the] General Recommendation No.1 on the digital dimension of violence against women..., in a context where the Istanbul Convention is under attack and where restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have increased levels of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls...  

The long-standing problem of cyberviolence in Europe has acquired a new dimension in recent years with the rising popularity of social media platforms. Today, online threats of murder, sexual assault or rape are worryingly part of women’s daily life. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed women and girls to online gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence...

It is important that manifestations of violence against women and girls in the digital sphere are understood as a form of violence against women that, like any other, hampers the full realisation of gender equality and violates their human rights...

States must address cyberviolence, using all the tools at their disposal... [T]he Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive and far-reaching international treaty to address gender-based violence against women. This treaty needs to be valued and adequately implemented to protect women and girls, also in the ever-evolving digital space.

This should be done in connection with other treaties and instruments we have at our disposal, such as the Lanzarote Convention, dealing with sexual abuse and exploitation against children, and the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, to which a second additional protocol on enhanced co-operation and disclosure of electronic evidence was adopted last week.

... [T]he role of all relevant actors, including ICT companies and internet intermediaries, must be enhanced...

Some women – in fact - are particularly exposed, such as public figures, politicians, journalists and women’s rights defenders. Today, I would like to address in particular the situation of human rights defenders and female journalists...

Women’s defenders and journalists, in their role as public watchdogs in democratic societies, stand at the core of that constant vigilance and mobilisation that incessantly fights against stagnation and retrogression in women’s rights...

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