Probleemgericht werken aan High Impact Crime
[310] 14 december 2021: Combating gender-based violence: Cyber violence

Inleiding en context

Ik wens jullie allemaal een hele fijne dinsdag 14 december 2021 toe. Vandaag een zeer uitgebreide ´kennisparel´ over geweld tegen vrouwen en meisjes in de gedigitaliseerde wereld: ´Cyber violence´. Naarmate de wereld steeds meer online met elkaar is verbonden zijn vormen van geweld die vrouwen en meisjes steeds meer zichtbaar en worden deze potentiële slachtoffers onevenredig getroffen door slachtofferschap via nieuwe digitale technologieën. De Europese Unie heeft geen wetgevend kader om dit gender gerelateerde geweld aan te pakken, ondanks de schadelijke gevolgen ervan voor individuen en de samenleving als geheel. Een wetgevingsinitiatief hiertoe op Europees niveau waarin wordt opgeroepen tot EU-wetgeving ter bestrijding van gender gerelateerd cybergeweld en slachtoffers in de hele EU gelijke bescherming te bieden zal naar verwachting in stemming worden gebracht tijdens de plenaire zitting december 2021. Ten behoeve van dat initiatief is bijgesloten ´kennisparel´ vervaardigd om de beschikbare kennis over het fenomeen binnen de EU systematisch bij elkaar te berengen.

Bron

Lomba, Niombo, Cecilia Navarra & Meenakshi Fernande (March 2021). Combating gender-based violence: Cyber violence. Brussels: European Parliament, European Parliamentary Research Service, European Added Value Unit, 242 pp.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2021/662621/EPRS_STU(2021)662621_EN.pdf

Samenvatting

With the rise of new technology and social media, gender-based cyber violence is a constantly growing threat with impacts at individual, social and economic levels, on women and girls and on society generally. There is currently no common definition or effective policy approach to combating gender-based cyber violence at EU or national level. Action taken so far has been inadequate, and the cross-border nature of gender-based cyber violence has yet to be properly addressed either. This European added value assessment (EAVA) supports the European Parliament in its right to request legislative action by the Commission, and complements its own-initiative legislative report ‘Combating gender-based violence: Cyber violence’ (2020/2035(INL).

Examining the definition and prevalence of gender-based cyber violence, the legal situation and individual, social and economic impacts, the EAVA draws conclusions on the EU action that could be taken, and identifies eight policy options. The costs to individuals and society are substantial and shown to be in the order of €49.0 to €89.3billion. The assessment also finds that a combination of legal and non-legal policy options would generate the greatest European added value, promote the fundamental rights of victims, address individual, social and economic impacts, and support law enforcement and people working with victims. The potential European added value of the policy options considered is a reduction in the cost of gender-based cyber violence ranging from 1 to 24%.

Beginning with a discussion on the definition of gender-based cyber violence, this assessment also considers the prevalence, and the legal, individual, social and economic impacts of gender-based cyber violence, and examines the regulatory framework at EU and national levels. To this end 12 EU Member States were analysed in greater depth. Having explored the legal base, and identified the weakness and gaps in the existing EU legal system, the paper suggests policy responses the EU could take. The assessment then discusses the qualitative and quantitative impacts, including economic estimates of the impacts of the policy options identified. External experts were commissioned to conduct additional analysis and contribute to a study and a paper; these are both annexed to this paper.

The study estimates that 4 to 7 % of women in the EU-27 have experienced cyber harassment during the past 12 months, while between 1 and 3 % have experienced cyber stalking. The ranges in the estimates reflect the underlying uncertainty arising from the lack of robust and recent cross-country data available on the phenomenon. It appears nevertheless that younger age groups face the greatest risk and that the prevalence of the phenomenon has risen with greater internet. and social media use. The prevalence of gender-based cyber violence is likely to continue to rise in the coming years, especially among adolescents.

Cyber violence has a direct impact on victims, first and foremost in terms of mental health, reflected in an increased incidence of depression and anxiety disorders. A number of social and economic impacts can also be identified: withdrawal from the public debate, costs incurred for seeking legal and healthcare assistance, labour market impacts in terms of lower presence at work, risks of job loss or lower productivity, and reduced quality of life due to poor mental health itself. Some of these impacts compound other forms of discrimination faced by women, e.g. the gender pay gap on the labour market. Moreover, they have an intersectional dimension and have to be observed together with other forms of discrimination and hate speech towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) people, as well as women from racial minority groups and different religious communities.

This set of impacts generates costs affecting victims as well as society. Some impacts are tangible and can translate into economic costs, while others are intangible and cannot be monetised, despite being of major relevance. Some of the costs of gender-based cyber violence were quantified by means of an economic assessment. These costs included healthcare costs, legal costs, labour market costs and costs associated with a reduced quality of life. The economic assessment estimated the overall costs of cyber harassment and cyber stalking at between €49.0 and €89.3 billion. The largest cost category was the monetised value of the loss in terms of quality of life, which accounted for more than half of the overall costs (about 60 % for cyber harassment and about 50 % for cyber stalking). Labour market impacts were also found to be substantial, together accounting for approximately 30 % for cyber harassment and 35 % for cyber stalking, the higher costs for the latter owing to lower labour force participation. Healthcare costs and legal costs, while contributing less to overall costs, were nonetheless substantial.

Afsluitend

Cybergeweld, dat wil zeggen het gebruik van online- en communicatietechnologieën om slachtoffers te bedreigen daadwerkelijk geweld te plegen kan door iedereen worden ervaren. Uit onderzoek blijkt echter dat het niet een genderneutraal fenomeen is aangezien vrouwen en meisjes onevenredig en op specifieke manieren slachtoffer worden. De prevalentie van dat slachtofferschap wordt op Europees niveau geschat tussen de 4 en zeven procent op jaarbasis.

Uit bijgesloten ´kennisparel´ blijkt dat de kwantificeerbare kosten van gender gerelateerd cybergeweld in de EU aanzienlijk zijn. Mede gezien dit feit en de lacunes die zijn geïdentificeerd binnen de EU en op nationaal niveau voor wat betreft het ontbreken van geharmoniseerde wettelijke definities, beperkte gegevens en onderrapportage op verschillende niveaus van bescherming voor slachtoffers is er een noodzaak om op EU-niveau op te treden. De verwachting is namelijk dat bij ongewijzigd beleid het slachtofferschap van cybergeweld tegen vrouwen en meisjes de komende jaren zal toenemen. Hopelijk dat het tweede bijgesloten document dat in stemming wordt gebracht tijdens de plenaire zitting van het Europees Parlement in december 2021 positief wordt ontvangen.

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