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Profiling Nordic Perpetrators of Gendered Online Abuse: Who, Why and How to Curb the Harm


NORDREF (Nordic Digital Rights and Equality Foundation), in collaboration with women’s shelters, police authorities and courts, has conducted research aimed at establishing offender profiles linked to online gender-based abuse in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. In their work, the actors utilised several different methods and sources.

The study focuses in particular on image-based sexual abuse, threats and sexual harassment (including so-called dickpics). The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in the use of digital communication, and at the same time to an increase in digitally manifested violence against women, which the UN has labelled a ‘shadow pandemic’. The negative impact this has had on women’s lives, in both public and private contexts, has been evident in the Nordic as well as the global context.

Establishing a perpetrator profile with data including age, gender, motive and relationship to the victim lays the foundation for evidence-based initiatives aimed at countering and ultimately preventing online abuse, which in turn contributes to strengthening democracy and increasing gender equality.

The results of the study have been presented in various contexts during 2024, and have led to new projects based on the results of the study, such as the Game Changer.

Updated 3 July 2024