On International Women’s Day 2023, a survey has shown though 8 out of 10 women in India have access to the Internet, but most of them face online abuse, harassment, trolling and fraud.
According to the survey conducted by LocalCircles, 83% of women respondents said they believed more action needs to be taken to make the Internet safer for women. Of which, 46% favoured ‘Women Cyber Grievance’ hotline should be started by the government to respond to the complaints within 24 hours, 60% prioritised National Women Cyber Grievance hotline should coordinate with the local police and 40% wanted mandatory action by all platforms after submission of evidence.
The survey sought to understand from family representatives across urban India on how the women are using the Internet. Due to the hectic life, 76% of those surveyed said they use the internet for “staying in touch with their family and friends”.
The survey data also showed 57% people used the internet linked to their device to find information; 57% use the devices for online entertainment like movies, music, etc.; 46% use the device for online shopping; 35% use it for booking or paying for various tickets/ services; 19% use it to raise various issues/ using social media; 14% for their employment; 5% for running a business and 14% for other reasons.
At present, the revamped cybercrime reporting portal launched in 2019 does claim to provide special focus on children and women.
The government, cyber-crime branch and the regulator should heed the voice of the respondents as the clear ask is for creation of a Women Cyber Grievance national hotline that not only registers cyber complaints from women but also coordinates with the local police to drive timely action while ensuring zero police harassment of the complainant.
The committee set up by the home ministry observes in a report presented in Parliament said so far 13,000 police personnel, judicial officers and prosecutors have been provided training on cybercrime awareness, investigation and forensics. Unfortunately, so far many of the states/UTs have not come on board for the purpose.
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