A new global alliance called the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse has been launched to help fight online harassment.
Australia is one of the founding members of the alliance and it shares this status with the US, Denmark, the UK, Sweden, and the Republic of Korea.
An announcement from the US Department of State launching the partnership noted there had been calls for years for an end to gender-based harassment and abuse online through various global forums such as the United Nations and the G7.
“Despite these efforts, significant gaps in research, policy, and evidence-informed practices to understand and address this challenge persist,” the US Department of State announcement said.
“Meanwhile, gender-based online harassment and abuse continues to rise, both in prevalence and impact.”
The partnership will focus on trying to develop solutions to the impact of online harassment and abuse towards individual survivors and victims and deal with the various societal costs of online harassment.
Julie Inman Grant, the eSafety Commissioner, said Australia has joined this new alliance of countries to help eliminate online gender-based violence.
“eSafety is honoured to be part of this global effort and looks forward to collaborating on our shared commitment to eliminating online gender-based violence,” Inman Grant said. “We know online abuse is a significant issue for Australian women,” Inman Grant said.
“Misogynistic online abuse of women is often violent and sexualised, designed to silence women and stop them from advocating on important issues or promoting their businesses or work.
“This important partnership aims to increase understanding of the pervasiveness, impact, and political and economic costs of gender-based online harassment and abuse around the world.”
Inman Grant said the alliance has a key goal of seeking to prevent and respond to gender-based online harassment and abuse with a focus on how gender-based abuse intersects with other characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
“Women are over-represented in reports to eSafety about image-based and adult cyber abuse, which have increased significantly during the pandemic, and reflect broader gender inequalities in society,” Inman Grant said.
“Important eSafety research released earlier this month found that one in three working women were abused online, which led to many stepping away from digital platforms and taking a backward step in their careers.”