New regional research unveiled: A step closer to understanding the complex dynamics of technology-facilitated violence against women


UN Women Europe and Central Asia launched brand-new action-oriented research on technology-facilitated violence against women
UN Women Europe and Central Asia launched brand-new action-oriented research on technology-facilitated violence against women

Forty one percent of Albanian women active online have experienced some form of technology-facilitated violence in their lifetime – the new research “The Dark Side of Digitalization: Technology-Facilitated Violence Against Women in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” shows. Albania was part of this year-long research investigating the forms and prevalence of technology-facilitated violence against women and its impact on women and girls’ attitudes, experiences, and access to services.

The average percentage of women from all countries covered by the research who have been subject to this type of violence is 53.2% (including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo[1], Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Türkiye, and Ukraine). More than one third of women facing tech-facilitated violence experience it on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, while in Albania and Türkiye Instagram was pointed out as the social media platform where this type of violence occurs the most.

According to the research, most of technology-facilitated VAW is perpetrated by unknown persons (50.3%), while in 32.1% of case it is perpetrated by persons that are close to women, such as partners, family members, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, supervisors or peers, representing an extension of the violence that exists offline. In Albania, respondents reported that the main perpetrators are current or former partner (followed by family member and the boss).

The research was launched online in the presence of 100 representatives from civil society organizations, national gender mechanisms, national human rights institutions, development partners, tech companies, academia, and experts from various backgrounds. The event was organized by UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and co-convened with the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence and the Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation.

Gülden Türköz-Cosslett, Regional Director a.i. for UN Women Europe and Central Asia, emphasized technology’s dual role as an enabler of empowerment and, regrettably, as a tool for intensified gender-based violence. “In the ever-evolving landscape of the 21st century, digitalization continues to shape our world. This research, launched within the framework of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, brings us closer to understanding tech-facilitated violence against women. In all its forms, tech-facilitated violence has the same motivations: to control, to marginalize and restrict women's freedom,” she noted.

Lead researcher Marija Babovic unveiled the key findings from this action-oriented research, drawing on surveys with over 12,000 women across the region and interviews with state and civil society representatives. One significant outcome highlighted that while technology and digitalization offer powerful tools for women’s empowerment, they also provide perpetrators with means to commit and intensify violence against women. “Rapid advancements in technology and its consequent misuse outpace the ability of state and civil society actors to respond effectively to violence against women,” concluded Marija Babovic.

The event delved into insights on investing in preventing and responding to technology-facilitated violence against women. It also explored the existing normative and institutional landscape, as well as the roles and perspectives of relevant stakeholders in providing prevention and support services to survivors of technology-facilitated violence. Robert Gajda, Commissioner for the Protection from Discrimination in Albania, participated in the launch. He welcomed the research, highlighting the lack of conspicuous studies, analysis, and monitoring on this issue in Albania. “This research helps us advocate for policies and strategies, bridging national and international perspectives. In Albania, we face challenges due to a lack of understanding and capacities in dealing with this problem,” stated Robert Gajda.

To view the Albanian version, click here.

[1] References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).