Digital harassment and abuse: Experiences of sexuality and gender-diverse adults

Powell1*, A. Scott2 and N. Henry3

1 RMIT University
2 Edith Cowan University
3 La Trobe University

*corresponding author:

While much cybercrime research has examined bullying, harassment and sexual exploitation of children and young people, fewer studies have explored the nature and extent of digital harassment and abuse among adult populations. Our previous research has established that harassment and abuse of adults via online and other communications technologies is prevalent, and that its nature and impacts differ for women and men who are victimised (e.g. Powell and Henry, 2015). This paper presents further analyses from a survey of 6000 Australian and UK adults, investigating the prevalence and nature of digital harassment and abuse as experienced by adults of diverse sexuality and gender identities. The findings demonstrate significant differences for adults identifying as gay, lesbian and bisexual, as well as for those identifying as transgender or as having a non-binary gender identity. The implications of these analyses for future research are considered.


Dr Anastasia Powell is Senior Research and ARC DECRA Fellow in Justice & Legal Studies at RMIT University. Anastasia’s research lies at the intersections of technology, gendered violence, justice and digital culture.

Dr Adrian Scott is Associate Director of the Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Social Change at Edith Cowan University. Adrian’s research specialises in the areas of perceptions of stalking, investigative interviewing and eyewitness testimony.

Dr Nicola Henry is Senior Lecturer in Crime, Justice & Legal Studies at La Trobe University. Nicola’s research focuses on sexual violence, law, power and justice in local and international contexts.

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