Skip to main content

Gender, Technology & Law session: Olga Jurasz on online harms and online violence against women – towards a (law) reform

Location: Online
Add to personal calendar

The Gender, Technology & Law initiative is happy to announce a new series of online sessions to take place in February, March and April 2021. 

The first online session of the new cycle will be animated by Dr. Olga Jurasz on 9 February 2021, 12:30-14:00 Brussels time.

LSTS co-director, Prof. Dr. Gloria González Fuster will open the session.

Session description:

Online harms and online violence against women – towards a (law) reform

Online violence against women (OVAW) is widespread in online environments, especially on social media platforms. However, limited progress has been made at supranational and national levels in addressing this issue. In countries where steps have been taken to combat OVAW, they were typically limited to legislative developments addressing image-based sexual abuse. Whilst harms associated with image-based abuse have gained recognition in law, harms caused by text-based abuse have not been conceptualised in an equivalent manner nor given the same attention. More generally, gendered forms of abuse (and harms arising from them) have been grossly missing from the proposals to legally regulate online harms. This approach presents a conceptually narrow view of what OVAW is and severely restricts the availability of remedies available to the victims of OVAW – particularly its textual forms.

This presentation will explore the phenomenon of OVAW and critique the current legal landscape in relation to addressing this form of violence and online harms arising from it, advocating for a greater recognition of online harms within the legal system. 

Speaker's Bio:

Dr. Olga Jurasz is a senior lecturer in law at the Open University Law School, specialising in international law, human rights, and legal responses to violence against women (including online violence). Her current research projects explore the issue of gender-based abuses in online environments and their legal regulation, with specific focus on online harms, gender-based hate, text-based abuse, and online misogyny. Her book Online misogyny as a hate crime: a challenge for (legal) regulation? (authored with Dr Kim Barker) was published by Routledge in 2019. Olga contributed to a number of consultations in her areas of expertise, including submissions to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, the One Scotland Consultation on Amending Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland, the Australian Government's Online Safety Charter Consultation, and Women & Equalities Committee.

Olga’s research has been funded by the British Academy, the Economic and Social Research Council and the British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association.

Gender, Technology & Law Sessions:

This session is part of the Gender, Technologies & Law Sessions, a collaborative initiative of the Law, Science, Technology and Society Research Group (LSTS) and the Fundamental Rights Centre (FRC) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The initiative aims at investigating the intersections between gender, technology and law through an interdisciplinary approach. Outcomes of these investigations but also more explorative debates and open questions are presented in a series of seminars, both by internal and external speakers. For more information on the series, see here.

Next sessions:

  • 23 March 2021, 12:00-13:30 Brussels time

    • Tuba Bircan on digital networks and migrant women
  • 27 April 2021, 12:00-13:30 Brussels time
    • Stefano Osella on technologies of body governance


The sessions are free to attend but registration is required. To register, please fill in the registration form. Should you face any difficulties with your registration, please send an e-mail to Olga Gkotsopoulou (LSTS) or Carlotta Rigotti (FRC).

You can find the poster of the new cycle here.

poster of GTL sessions feb-april 2021
Logo of FRC