How to protect yourself from domestic violence online
With the evolution of digitalization, more and more communication platforms are emerging. While a number of benefits they offer can be identified, they also create a framework in which aggressive behavior, even manifested online, can lead to damage to a person’s psychological integrity.
What is cyber violence?
Cyber violence can be seen as an electronic version of domestic violence and manifests itself, as provided for by Law no. 106/2020 to amend and supplement Law no. 217/2003 on preventing and combating domestic violence, by:
- Online harassment;
- Online messages inciting gender-based hatred;
- Online tracking;
- Online threats;
- Non-consensual publication of private information and graphic content;
- Unlawful access to intercept private communications and data and any other form of misuse of information and communication technology through computers, smart mobile phones or other similar devices that use telecommunications or can connect to the internet and transmit and use social or email platforms;
The purpose of these acts is to shame, humiliate, frighten, threaten, silence the victim.
This list is not exhaustive, so other conduct may also qualify as acts of cyber violence, depending on the specific ways of committing it that evolve with technology.
Online violence can have serious consequences even if it does not involve direct contact between perpetrator and victim, as cyberspace can amplify the harmful effects of aggression. Once published, hate messages, private information or graphic content can be viewed by a broad audience, and the impact on the victim can be irreversible.
In this regard, the legislator also regulates the prevention of such acts by establishing the obligation to take the necessary steps to develop public awareness campaigns and to provide practical assistance to central and local authorities in preventing and responding to cyber violence, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, and Communications, through its coordinating bodies, responsible for preventing, analyzing, identifying and responding to incidents in cyberinfrastructures.
Even though users can exercise their right to accessible expression through online platforms, if their conduct results in harm to a person, the law establishes sanctions to protect victims of such abuse.
Acts of cyber violence in the sense of domestic violence are intentional actions or inactions that occur within the family or domestic setting or between spouses or ex-spouses, as well as between current or former partners, regardless of whether the perpetrator lives or has lived with the victim. Thus, if such a relationship between the perpetrator and the victim cannot be identified, the perpetrator’s actions will not be punishable under the provisions applicable to domestic violence. Therefore, the acts of violence must originate from a victim’s family member.
What sanctions can be imposed on the offender?
When the perpetrator’s act does not meet the typical conditions of a crime under the Criminal Code, such as threat or blackmail, victims of cyber violence can seek a protection order against the perpetrator.
The Blaj Law team provides you with information about it in the article “The Protection Order-Domestic Violence Victims’ Defence Mechanism” , which can be consulted by accessing The protection order – is a means of defense for victims of domestic violence.