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Digital Abuse of Women: International Day Opposing Violence against Women Conference 2015

25 November 2015

Noírín O’Sullivan, Commissioner, An Garda Síochána-2

On International Day Opposing Violence against Women - Wednesday 25th November 2015 - Women’s Aid shone a light on the issue of digital abuse of women in intimate relationship at a national conference at Wood Quay in Dublin. The event heard from Irish experts on the nature and extent of digital abuse in Ireland and legislative gaps. It also heard from international contributors about recent efforts to tackle the emerging crime in Scotland.

The Women’s Aid conference was organised to address this growing phenomenon of digital abuse and to learn from best practice approaches in other jurisdictions.

The aims of the conference were to identify and address the issue of digital abuse and domestic violence in Ireland by:

  1. Naming the problem of digital abuse, stalking and non-consensual pornography (revenge porn) within intimate relationships in Ireland.
  2. Building a better understanding of the nature and prevalence of the issue in Ireland drawing on legal case history and Women’s Aid experience.
  3. Identifying the gaps in legislative protection and identifying support needs of victims.
  4. Examining and learning from the development of good practice in other jurisdictions including the UK and US.
  5. Identifying what needs to happen next to fully address this issue in Ireland.

Speakers: Among those addressing the conference was Ann Moulds, a Scottish campaigner who was previously a victim of stalking, Pauline Walley SC on the Irish legal context and Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid. The conference was also addressed by Noírín O’Sullivan, Commissioner, An Garda Síochána.

Attendees: Over 120 people attended the conference including legal professionals including court personnel, solicitors, barristers, those involved in law reform and legal students, An Garda Síochána including senior members and those involved in the Garda Victims Services Officers, politicians and policy makers, Violence against Women Support Services, the community and family resource, sector social care personnel including social workers, probation staff and social care students, other NGOs addressing digital abuse, digital technology and social media companies and the media.

Key conference documents:

Conference programme and speakers biographies (click here)

Digital abuse of women animation (click here)

Digital Abuse of Women Information Guide (click here)

Speakers and presentations:

Margaret Martin presentation.

Ann Moulds presentation.

Commissioner Noírín O'Sullivan message of support for the 16 Days of Action (click here) and speech on the day (click here).

Opinion piece by Dearbhail McDonald on the issue "It's time to take down the trolls", Sunday Independent, 29th November 2015.

Opinion piece by Professor Mary Aiken on the issue. "We need ethical approach to problem behaviour online", The Irish Independent, Thursday 26th November 2015.

Blog post by Mary Anne Franks The Fight Against Digital Abuse - the View from the US.

Media coverage of the event:

Women's Aid full media release

RTE News including news report, Morning Ireland and Drivetime piece.

Irish Times

Irish Independent

Irish Examiner 


This event was the official launch of the Women's Aid One in Five Women campaign and International 16 Days of Action campaign in Ireland.  For more information visit www.womensaid.ie/16days. 




Wood Quay Venue, Dublin Civic Offices, Dublin 8