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Cyberviolence against women: A new challenge for criminal law

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The growing reach of the Internet, the rapid spread of mobile information and communications technologies and the wide diffusion of social media have revolutionised and integrated almost every facet of modern society, changing the way people relate to each other and creating enormous opportunities for individuals. It represents, nevertheless, only one side of the coin. Rapid changes in technology and the rise of social media have also created a new array of risks, exposing people to different forms of violence online. Although it may be experienced by everyone, regardless of gender, the latest studies have shown that it is increasingly becoming part of women’s experience of violence and their online interactions. It is estimated that 73% of women have already experienced violence online as online harassment, cyber stalking, privacy invasions with the threat of blackmail, sextortion, revenge porn and cyber sexual abuse that may cause psychological and emotional harm, reinforce prejudice, damage reputation, cause economic loss and pose barriers to participation in public life. All these forms of violence conducted using new technologies are part of a wider phenomenon called cyberviolence against women or Cyber VAWG that it is rapidly emerging as a global problem with serious consequences. Despite its prevalence and severe impact on the victims, its recognition has been rather slow, especially when it comes to the legal responses, both at domestic and international levels. It is evident that legal systems are struggling to keep up with these fast-moving phenomena which exposes gaps in substantive criminal law. Even when legislative provisions which allow punishment of some acts of online violence against women exist, the overall legal landscape pertaining to deal with such offences is scattered and lacks consistency. In this context of transformation criminal law

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