Supporting Safer Digital Spaces

Special Report

June 8, 2023

Various forms of digital technology are being used to inflict significant harms online. This is a pervasive issue in online interactions, in particular with regard to technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV) and technology-facilitated violence (TFV) against LGBTQ+ people. This modern form of violence perpetuates gender inequality and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and has significant impacts on its targets.

As part of a multi-year research project Supporting a Safer Internet (in partnership with the International Development Research Centre) exploring the prevalence and impacts of TFGBV experienced by women, transgender, gender non-conforming and gender-diverse people, as well as TFV against LGBTQ+ individuals, an international survey was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The survey examined the influence of gender and sexual orientation on people’s experiences with online harms, with a focus on countries in the Global South. Data was collected from 18,149 people of all genders in 18 countries.

The special report provides background information on TFGBV and TFV against LGBTQ+ people by summarizing some of the existing research on the topic. It then presents the quantitative data collected on people’s experiences with, and opinions on, online harms. A list of recommendations is provided for governments, technology companies, academics, researchers and civil society organizations on how they can contribute to addressing and ending TFV.

Read the Supporting Safer Digital Spaces: Highlights here.

Read the French translation of the Highlights here.

About the Authors

Suzie Dunn is a senior fellow at CIGI, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa and an Assistant Professor of Law & Technology at Dalhousie University.

Tracy Vaillancourt is a CIGI senior fellow and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in School-Based Mental Health and Violence Prevention at the University of Ottawa.

Heather Brittain is a Vanier Scholar who is completing her doctoral degree in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa in Tracy Vaillancourt’s Brain and Behaviour Laboratory.