Preventing digital gender-based violence in the UK and Spain: Cross-cultural collaboration through widening education and literacy

Project: Internally funded project

Project Details


Digital forms of violence reflect wider socio-cultural and structural inequities, and the use of technology in gender-based violence is growing in the UK (National Network to End Domestic Violence, 2022; Bacchus et al., 2019, Bumble, 2022; Suzy Lamplaugh Trust, 2023). This is also the case in Spain where violence has increased in digital spaces (Castellanos-Torres E. et. al., 2023), including the notable “La Manada” case in 2016, where a young woman was raped by five men who filmed the attack and then uploaded it to a group WhatsApp chat (Beatley, 2019). However, there is little work looking across these contexts, despite similarities in legislative processes (Online Safety Bill, EU Digital Servies Act) and organisations tackling technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV).

This ESRC Impact project takes the contexts in the UK and Spain as a point of collaboration. We follow the UNFPA (2022) in defining TFGBV as “any act that is committed, assisted, aggravated, or amplified by the use of information communication technologies or other digital tools, that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological, social, political, or economic harm, or other infringements of rights and freedoms”. We catalyse previous impact work (REDF, 2023; ESRC IAA, 2023) that focused on the intersection of technology and gender-based violence, and scales that work for international and long-term impact. In addition to highlighting gaps in collaborating cross-culturally to instigate culture change, co-production research with stakeholders in policy, government, advocacy, and healthcare revealed the need for more cross-sector collaboration, and targeted investment in the future prevention of TFGBV (Balfour, Evans et al. 2023).

Our aims to generate new pathways to impact are to:
- Tackle key challenge areas to implement pathways to justice through collaborative non-academic, cross-cultural and international knowledge-exchange that leads to change through the power of collective voice;
- Generate a shared understanding of TFGBV and digital sexual violence and map impact actor networks across the UK and Spain;
- Draw on this knowledge-exchange to formulate prevention-oriented activities that can seed cross-cultural change at a formative moment in the policy landscape in relation to digital harms and safety in both the UK and Spanish/EU juncture;
- Activate these outputs with a wider academic, public, government, and stakeholder group through collaboration and activator events in the UK and Spain, as well as through other venues (e.g. Brussels).
Effective start/end date1/02/241/02/25


  • Technology-facilitated violence
  • Gender-based violence
  • Intimacy
  • Postdigital
  • Cross-cultural


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