TECHNOLOGY-FACILITATED VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & GIRLS
ASSESSING THE CANADIAN CRIMINAL LAW RESPONSE
Keywords:Technology-facilitated violence, women and girls, criminal law, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual integrity, online, gender-based violence, consent, protection, safety, public harm
Alongside increasing awareness of the ways in which digital technologies can be used to facilitate violence against women and girls, there have come questions about the applicability and efficacy of Canadian criminal law responses. Rooted in a feminist perspective and based on a review of over 400 reported cases involving technology-facilitated violence (TFV), the authors argue that Canadian criminal law both can and should respond. Technology-facilitated violence against women and girls (TFVAWG), like violence against women and girls (VAWG) more generally, undermines their rights to sexual integrity, dignity, autonomy and to equal participation in public and private life. Criminal law responses are an important mechanism for expressing public disapprobation of TFVAWG’s negative effects on these fundamental rights. However, the authors’ review reveals certain shortcomings in achieving survivor-centred outcomes. Recognizing these and other limitations of criminal law, the authors also assert that proactive approaches aimed at broader social transformation will be essential to ensuring the full and equal participation of women and girls in a digitally connected world.