‘Taking on the World: Tackling Gender-Based Violence in the Online Space’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Gendered online abuse communicated via social networking sites is a global issue. This study investigates the online abuse received by women serving in academia, journalism, policing, and politics in the UK, USA and EU. It reveals that online abuse consists of seven elements: defamation, emotional harm, harassment, threat, belittlement, silencing, and criticism of appearance. Online abuse is misogynistic, frequently includes violent threats, and dismisses women’s contributions to online discussions. The study also reveals that the abuse directed at women varies by occupation, with police officers most likely to receive abuse that denigrates their ability or appearance; politicians and journalists more likely to receive violent threats, and academics receiving both. The paper concludes by considering how different countries are responding to the issue of online abuse through changes to regulation and legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPapers from the British Criminology Conference
Subtitle of host publication2023 Conference (27 – 30 June 2023) Sustaining Futures: Remaking Criminology in an age of Global Injustice Hosted by the University of Central Lancashire
EditorsMarian Duggan
PublisherBritish Society of Criminology / University of Brighton
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

Publication series

NamePapers from the British Criminology Conference
ISSN (Electronic)1759-0043

Bibliographical note

Susan Watson is Lecturer in Criminal Justice and Social Policy in the School for Business and Society at the University of York. Her current research focus is on the role of online abuse in gender-based violence, investigating the impact of abusive behaviour executed via new technology.


  • Online abuse
  • Technology facilitated gendered violence
  • Misogyny
  • Public sphere
  • Social media

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