Digital tools and changing behaviour in relation to violence against women

Question

What are the most effective tools developed for digital platforms (social media, mobile phone apps and websites) that have been successful in changing behaviour in relation to violence against women?

Summary

The advent of technology-based solutions brings with it both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, technology has the potential to play a key role in transforming gender inequality and unequal social relations; on the other, it may encourage new forms of violence against women. A number of factors have been identified that contribute to the success of digital campaigns:

  • Campaigns are likely to be more successful when they include messages about legal penalties for non-compliant behaviour and fresh information, and when they reach a large proportion of the intended audience. Digital campaigns must therefore work alongside laws and policies. Legislation can be a key tool in changing behaviour and perceptions of cultural and social norms. Laws and policies that make violent behaviour an offence send a message to society that it is not acceptable.
  • Success is more likely if messages are tailored to audiences using social marketing principles and create a supportive environment that enables the intended audience to make changes – e.g. by mobilising communities in support of the campaign.
  • To develop effective campaigns, it is also important to use research, such as interviews with key stakeholders and focus groups with members of the target audience, to determine existing attitudes and beliefs and ways of motivating people to change their behaviour.
  • Campaign messages should also be pre-tested to ensure they are understood correctly and to minimize any unintended negative effects.
  • The most successful interventions work with experienced organisations to develop and deliver sophisticated television/radio programming and communications combined with community mobilisation strategies aimed at changing gender-related norms and behaviours.