Opinion Comment

Friday 20 October 2017

We need ethical approach to problem behaviour online

Technology is now ubiquitous and while the Internet offers abundant opportunities for education, networking and communication, it can also manifest problem behaviours (Stock image)
Technology is now ubiquitous and while the Internet offers abundant opportunities for education, networking and communication, it can also manifest problem behaviours (Stock image)

Mary Aiken

To mark the UN Day Opposing Violence Against Women, Women's Aid have organised an international conference to discuss domestic violence and cybercrime, online abuse, stalking and non-consensual pornography.

Women's Aid has received over 13,000 contacts to its direct services, with many women reporting that partners and ex-partners use new technologies to monitor and harass them online, through mobile phone, texting or dissemination of non-consensual pornography, often in combination with traditional stalking tactics. The Law Reform Commission is currently reviewing the law in this area, and organisers see this conference as an ideal opportunity to deepen the commitment of the Irish justice sector.

I participated in the Law Reform Commission seminar in April 2015 regarding its issues paper on personal safety, privacy, reputation and cyberbullying. A wide group of experts made submissions, ranging from Michael Tugendhat, a retired senior media judge of the English High Court, to Detective Sergeant Jennifer Molony of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit of An Garda Síochána. The seminar provided an excellent forum for discussion.

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