A new chapter in the fight against gender-based violence – bringing safety to the online space
December 8, 2022
Violence against women and girls is a widespread human rights violation affecting millions of women and girls around the world every day. It remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it. Data tells us that one in three women and girls worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence during their lifetime. And what is even more concerning: less than 40% of them seek the help of any sort, and from this number only 10%, or 4 out of 100 violence survivors receive support from the police.
Gender-based violence is an issue of particular concern in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as evidenced by the OSCE-led survey on violence against women in the country. According to this publication, close to half (48%) of women have experienced some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence, including intimate partner violence, non-partner violence, stalking and sexual harassment, since the age of 15.
Digital communications technologies have transformed modern societies and everyday lives, including everyday crimes. Digital communication platforms are used for acts of sexual and gender-based violence, and we see an increasing number of digital sex crimes such as sextortion, revenge pornography, online sexual harassment and gender-based hate speech.
Fighting gender-based violence, which increasingly occurs in the digital space, requires that we adapt and adjust our actions.
Fighting gender-based violence, which increasingly occurs in the digital space, requires that we adapt and adjust our actions.Steliana Nedera, Resident Representative, UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina
To advance and accelerate the fight against gender-based violence, UNDP made it a core priority (UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2025) and introduced gender equality as one of the six signature solutions in the UNDP Strategic Plan: 2022-2025.
As we mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina is initiating the SDG Partnership on tackling digital sex crimes with the Korean National Police Agency. The project represents a step towards fighting technology-facilitated forms of sexual violence, and harassment with concrete actions strengthening the capacities and technical skills of relevant authorities and communities, learning from the good practices and digital tools developed and used by the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) through specialised training and peer-to-peer exchange.
Capacities in the two BiH law enforcement agencies to tackle digital sex crimes have been continuously developing over the past years, resulting in numerous successful investigations and prosecution of high-profile digital sex crime cases, mostly related to child pornography. Joint efforts with existing structures are needed to tackle and combat violence against women and girls in the digital sphere.
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina renews its commitment to work on gender-based violence and on gender-based violence in cyberspace as essential and growing priorities. It is necessary to shape a world where everyone feels safe, empowered, and free from digital and physical fears.
1 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (no date) United Nations. United Nations. Available at: https://www.un.org/en/observances/ending-violence-against-women-day
3 OSCE, 2019. OSCE led survey on violence against women. Well-being and safety of women. [online] Bosnia and Herzegovina: OSCE. Available at: https://www.osce.org/files/f/documents/3/5/423470_1.pdf