A recent survey shows that 41% of women have had a partner or ex-partner track or check-up on them through their online activities.
The report, by Women’s Aid, also found that over a third of the women studied (37%) also felt threatened by this behaviour.
Facebook and email were the platforms most often used in this type of abuse. Worryingly, only 30% of the women questioned believed that this type of behaviour constituted abuse, stalking or a criminal offence.
Women’s Aid were hoping to draw attention to the increasing prevalence of online stalking and abuse. The charity also hoped to raise awareness of how online stalking and harassment is linked to other forms of abuse, such as domestic violence.
The charity reported that they have seen an increase in this type of behaviour being reported by women who are victims of domestic violence. If their abuser has access to their email and social media accounts, the victim can feel more isolated and unable to reach out to friends or family for help.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, told the Guardian: “Today’s report details the significant failings of the government, social media providers, and the criminal justice system to keep pace with the ingenuity of criminals intent on intimidating and controlling women online.”
“It is vital that prompt action is taken to address the causes of both online and offline abuse against women, as we work to eradicate new forms of abuse enabled by online technologies.”