What is cyberviolence?
Cyberviolence being a relatively new phenomenon that encompasses a wide variety of crimes, the term is still difficult to define precisely. The T-CY Working Group on cyberbullying and other forms of violence, in its Mapping Study on Cyberviolence, settled on defining cyberviolence as:
"the use of computer systems to cause, facilitate, or threaten violence against individuals, that results in (or is likely to result in) physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering and may include the exploitation of the individual's circumstance, characteristics or vulnerabilities."
Why is addressing cyberviolence important?
Cyberviolence is often misunderstood and not taken as seriously as it should be. Yet, it is important to remember that cyberviolence may start online, but it often ends offline with devastating consequences for the victims and their families. Threats of violence, stalking, incitement to suicide, sollictation of children for sexual purposes... may all result in the victim self-harming or being physically attacked by the initial perpetrator.
It is important to act in order to prevent cyberviolence from happening, and to protect and bring justice to the victims.
However, currently and as the Mapping Study has revealed, most countries are struggling to recognize the different facets of the problem and to address them in domestic law. Some types of cyberviolence are addressed fully or in part in international agreements, but many remain unaddressed.
The Council of Europe is working across sectors (through, for instance, the mechanisms related to the Budapest Convention, the Istanbul Convention and the Lanzarote Convention) to ensure human rights are upheld in cyberspace as well, for all.