UKSIC stresses importance of global collaboration in creating “avalanche of positive change” following Rome event

23 Nov 2022 UK SIC

The UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) has stressed the importance of global collaboration in creating an “avalanche of positive change” in the fight for a safer world for women and girls – both online and offline.

The centre was represented at an event hosted by the British and Canadian Embassies in Rome last week. The event, which marked the International Day against Violence on Women, focused on the impact of online gender-based violence and saw speakers from across the world sharing their expertise.

Revenge Porn Helpline Manager at the UKSIC, Sophie Mortimer, gave a presentation on the work of the helpline and that of StopNCII – a free, SWGfl tool designed to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image Abuse.

Speaking afterwards, she said events like these are vital: “First and foremost it’s important that these conversations are had across the world as legislation and regulation differ wherever you go. The internet is a global tool, and we can’t fix its problems country-by-country – it just doesn’t work like that. I know the UK strives to be the safest place in the world to be online, but we can’t do it on our own.

“The feedback I had was positive and it’s clear that the Italians are looking to learn and improve their practices. They recognise that they could be further forward on this, but I said it’s important they realise we’re all in this together. I know we, as the UK, seem further ahead but we continue to have problems so it’s just about learning from experience. None of us are there, until we are all there. We all need to work collectively.

“However, there’s no doubt the UK is at the front of this whole conversation, as we were one of the first to have a government funded support service to help victims that are impacted by this – and that’s quite innovative. The fact that we have got nearly eight years of data from clients who have used the service means we have got a lot of expertise to share and we’re always keen to be a part of these conversations.

“StopNCII increases our global impact because, as it develops, we will need to be having those conversations with people from different countries and cultures. As much as we need to be doing this all together, we can’t just assume the same standards for everyone. We must be sensitive to the fact that what’s private and intimate in one country is not private and intimate in another. We need to have some flexibility and sensitivity to that.

“There are solutions to the issues we face and massively reducing the impacts of these things is achievable – but we need to do it collectively. These problems are solvable, and we can develop preventative tools and make online spaces safer for women and girls. Each event, like this one in Rome, is a tiny snowflake that will eventually create an avalanche of positive change.”

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