There have been calls for new legislation to be passed that specifically protects women from digital and online abuse and harassment this week.


The calls came during a conference on the digital abuse of women in Dublin this week, with some rather alarming statistics being shared.


Speaking at the conference, Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin said that the organisation has received a worrying number of reports where women were being tracked through technology, received offensive or threatening emails and texts, or had personal details or lies about them shared online.


Ms Martin’s report comes just weeks after the release of an EU-wide study on violence against women. The study showed that 12% of Irish women and girls over 15 have experienced online stalking, with a further 50% stalked physically or online by a partner or former partner.



As the Law Reform Commission undertakes a cyber-crime project, due to be completed shortly, Ms Martin called for new legislation to specifically protect women from online abuse and stalking.


“We know that abusive partners use the internet and social media to control and stalk women. Abusers often combine digital abuse with more traditional off-line stalking tactics such as following, damaging property, and abusive calls,” she said, explaining the motivation behind the organisation's appeal.


If you are affected by this topic and would like to speak to a professional, you can contact the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900.