Updated Sep 14, 2018

Cyber Harassment Helpline

To equip women, non-binary individuals and minorities with the tools and resources to reclaim online spaces.

www.digitalrightsfoundation.pk

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Snapshot

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

The cyber harassment helpline was established in December 2016 and its services are provided free of cost, and the project was funded by the Tulip Human Rights Award. Since its launch the Helpline has been providing assistance to victims of online harassment—over 2000 calls were received. Currently the Helpline is looking to expand and sustain its services to adopt to the changing legal landscape in digital rights and new emergent technologies.

Focus Areas:

Peace and Resilience, Gender-based Violence and Technology

Peace and Resilience, Gender-based Violence and TechnologySEE LESS

Implemented In:

Pakistan

PakistanSEE LESS

1
Country Implemented In

Problem

This solution is seeking to address the problem of online violence against women that results in violation of women rights to participation in online spaces, digital safety, mental and physical safety and well as implications for women’s right to freedom of expression. Women are often discouraged from participating in online discourse due to abuse and in some cases online harassment can result in offline, physical violence as well.

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Solution

Our solution seeks to provide legal advice, digital security assistance and psychological counselling for victims of online harassment and violence. The cyber harassment helpline has a team that consists of lawyers, digital security experts and a counsellor in order to implement the solution vision outlined above. The Helpline also has an ever-expanding referral system that supplements the expertise of the Helpline with more specific services, grounding the helpline and its approach in larger networks that are local, regional and international. These collaborations have enriched the work that DRF provides and also adds to the work of other organisations. We hope to situate the helpline at a global scale even further so similar models can be replicated and scaled in other countries and contexts.

Competitive Advantage

The cyber harassment helpline is the only dedicated cyber harassment helpline in the region in which it operates. Most approaches to online harassment are either grounded in the larger rubric of cyber crime (that isn’t seen as gender specific) or within the ambit of cyber bullying (that is positioned primarily at children and teenagers). The Helpline takes a unique approach the problem in that it seeks to tackle issue a problem of violence against women and gender-specific. Furthermore, the helpline takes a holistic approach to the issue—not confining it to merely an issue of the law, technology or mental health. There are several human rights organisations working on mapping and tracking the issue of online harassment, but very few of them are combining research and data collection with direct service delivery—combining government-oriented approaches with civil society solutions.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Future plans include expanding our legal network to become country-wide so that on the ground assistance can be provided to victims effectively. The Helpline also wishes to be part of global networks working on support to women and children in the realm of digital assistance. We seek to expand our reach areas peri-urban and rural parts of Pakistan through targeted awareness and promotional campaigns, as currently most of our calls are restricted to urban centers.

Milestones

Sep 2018
Date Unknown
New Country
Pakistan