Webinar: “Tackling Online Gender-based Violence Through EU Laws and Policies” (ENG/ESP), 25 February 2021, 3.00-5.00 PM CET

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According to a 2018 report by the EU Parliament’s FEMM Committee, in Europe, 1 in 10 women have experienced cyberviolence since the age of 15.  It is crucial to highlight that migrant women and girls are more vulnerable to online violence, in particular online hate that is racist or xenophobic in nature. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased reliance on ICT tools to connect socially and professionally, online violence is more prevalent than before.

The webinar will draw out concrete suggestions and recommendations on how laws and policies in the EU and in general can be improved to tackle online gender-based violence. To this aim, it will facilitate a conversation between activists protecting women, specifically migrant women, from gender-based violence, and experts in law and technology, with Member of the European Parliament, Sylwia Spurek. The webinar is organized by Women in Development Europe+ (WIDE+) and Creación Positiva.  It will be in both English and Spanish.


Dr Sylwia Spurek
Dr. Spurek is a lawyer; a politician; a holder of Ph.D. in law; a legal counsel; a legislator; and a feminist. Over the past twenty years, she has been involved in work for women’s rights as human rights. She also is a vegan and an advocate of animal rights. In 2004, Dr Spurek was the author of the Polish Government’s first bill on the prevention of domestic violence. In the years 2014-2015, she acted as deputy head of the Office of the Polish Government’s Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment. Between 2015 and 2019, she was a Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland and is currently Member of the European Parliament, Vice-chair of the FEMM Committee, and a Member of LIBE Committee.

Dr Spurek will provide an overview of the EU legal framework in addressing online violence, and what are the gaps that need to be remedied.

Laia Serra Perelló
Perelló is a criminal lawyer, teacher, trainer and activist, working on human rights, gender violence, non-discrimination, the right to protest, freedom of expression, hate crimes, and intersectionalities. She is a member of organizations such as the Barcelona Bar Association’s Defence Committee, Dones Juristes (Association of Women Jurists) and the Catalan Association for the Defence of Human Rights, and she collaborates regularly with various feminist groups. She authored the research Las violencias de género en línea (Online gender-based violence) among others. She helped drafted the regulations of the Catalan law against LGTBIphobia and recently drafted the reform of the Catalan law against Gender-based violence (which was approved by the Catalan Parliament in December 2020).

Perelló will elaborate on Catalonia’s experience in the inclusion of cyberviolence to gender-based violence laws.

Spideralex is a sociologist, PhD in social economy and a researcher on ICT for the public good. She is an activist involved in the development of technological sovereignty initiatives and a cyberfeminist studying the relationship between gender and ICT. She is the founder of the Catalan cyberfeminist collective Donestech that explores the relation between gender and technologies developing action research, documentaries, and training. She was the coordinator of a four-year international program with the title “Gender and Technology Institute”, working with human rights defenders and women’s rights activists around the world on topics of privacy and security online, but also in the physical and psycho-social domain. She has edited two volumes on technical sovereignty initiatives.

Spideralex will discuss feminist responses from civil society in the prevention and protection of women and girls against online gender-based violence.

Seyi Akiwowo
Akiwowo is a multi-award winning founder and CEO of a newly formed charity, Glitch. Glitch’s mission is to awaken a generation of digital citizens equipped to create and demand for safe online spaces for all. Akiwowo founded the charity during her time as a local politician in East London (2014-2018), after she faced hideous online abuse and violence. Using her lived experience and expertise, Seyi co-designs practical solutions with Governments, NGOs, UN Human Rights Council and tech companies to protect public online public spaces from hate and abuse. In 2020 George Washington University appointed Seyi a Knight Fellow of the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics and also sits on the Guardian Council of Yoti. Before Glitch, Seyi was elected as the youngest Black female Councillor in East London at age 23 and now has over 10 years’ experience working in government and policy and the charity sectors both in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Akiwowo will explain how online gender-based violence disproportionately impacts minority and migrant women and how to empower them to practice digital self-defense.

Jelena Hrnjak
Hrnjak is a women’s activist and has dedicated her work to providing direct support and long-term assistance to women and children, victims of human trafficking, and victims of gender-based violence. She is the Program Manager at Atina, a non-governmental organization based in Belgrade that works towards providing sustainable support mechanisms for marginalized groups, especially women and child victims of human trafficking. In this position, she manages a comprehensive reintegration program for survivors that aims to achieve social inclusion and economic empowerment. Hrnjak also engages with other civil society organizations and institutions that address issues of trafficking in persons as well as gender-based violence. Over the years, Hrnjak has led numerous trainings for police officers, prosecutors, social workers, and judges in Serbia. In particular she has helped with the development of local and national networks of institutions to support more structured and efficient identification and protection of child trafficking victims.

Hrnjak will present key findings from Atina’s report, ‘Behind the Screens’ and discuss ways women’s rights organisations, and migrant women groups, can advocate for law and policy reforms.

Moderator: Montse Pineda Lorenzo:
Lorenzo is the advocacy coordinator of Creación Positiva, an NGO based in Barcelona working from a gender and intersectional feminist perspective in order to give effect to sexual rights. Lorenzo has over 25 years of extensive experience in advocacy, raising awareness, training and assisting, elaborating and coordinating both reports and action protocols, on gender-based violence, sexual violence, discrimination, sexual and reproductive rights, VIH people’s rights. She works for Creación Positiva at a local and national level (Catalonia, cities and towns such as Barcelona), state level (Spain), European level, and multilateral level (CSW, CPD, HLPF). She has been advocating and working along CSOs and women and feminist networks from Europe (Wide+) and Latin American and the Caribbean, as well as globally (Women’s Major Group). She is the vice-president of the National Council of Women of Catalonia since 2018.


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