Almost one fifth of women in Wales experience online violence, survey finds

Nearly a fifth of women and girls in Wales have experienced online violence, according to a new survey. Credit: PA

Nearly a fifth of women and girls in Wales have experienced online violence, a new survey has found.

Research by the Open University has found that in both Wales and Scotland 17% of women and girls had experienced abuse in some form online.

In England, the figure stands at around 15%, whereas in Northern Ireland it's 12%.

Online violence includes trolling, threats, abuse, unwanted sexual remarks, and non-consensual sharing of intimate photos and messages.

The online YouGov survey was conducted in February and included 7,500 people aged 16 and over.

Researchers say it's the largest to have taken place in the UK on the issue.

Professor Olga Jurasz, who led the project, said: "This new research - the first ever to be conducted into OVAWG (online violence against women and girls) at this scale across the four nations - shows just how widespread the issue of OVAWG really is and will provide policy makers with a foundation to help reduce instances of OVAWG and to improve outcomes for those affected."

Online Abuse Support

Women's Aid

Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. They have been at the forefront of shaping and coordinating responses to domestic violence and abuse through practice for over 45 years.

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The NSPCC is the UK's leading children's charity. You can contact its helpline to discuss online abuse by calling 0808 800 5000 or emailing

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Mind is a mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues.

It provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

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Revenge Porn Helpline

The Revenge Porn Helpline is a UK service supporting adults (aged 18+) who are experiencing intimate image abuse, also known as, revenge porn. You can call them on 0345 600 0459

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National Stalking Helpline

You can contact the National Stalking Helpline on on 0808 802 0300 or email through an enquiry form here.

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Professor Lynne Gabriel, president of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), said: "The scale of their research project is welcomed, its findings less so.

"Online and digital platforms are virtually unregulated, and as these findings show there are individuals who cannot moderate their online behaviour."

Prof Gabriel said the research would "provide valuable evidence for many, including counselling and mental health professionals, policy makers, educators, researchers and social media platforms who are looking to stop online violence against women and girls."

The Online Safety Bill is continuing its passage through Parliament this week.

The proposed bill, which was published as a draft in 2021, aims to make social media companies take responsibility for harmful and illegal content online, making it safer for internet users.

However, it has proved to be somewhat contentious among freedom of speech advocates who have disagreed over the extent to which the government and social media platforms should be able to monitor users.