October 20, 2023
Researched innovative design approaches that can support the safety of women and girls on online platforms and services.
The Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) recognised the pressing issue of online violence against women and girls (OVAWG) and the pivotal role that platform design plays in either perpetuating or mitigating these harms. Between December 2022 and March 2023, the DCMS’s Digital Safety and Inclusion Team set out to uncover the link between platform design and OVAWG. This multidimensional challenge encompassed three primary objectives.
To tackle this complex challenge, PUBLIC led a four-phased research approach:
Our research conducted on behalf of DCMS has significantly advanced informed decision-making, enabling stakeholders to address OVAWG more effectively. Equally, the identification of 12 priority design features and the conceptualisation of four future-facing design features hold the potential to shape the development and design of online platforms and services, emphasising safety for women and girls. Our research contributes to the global body of evidence surrounding gender-based online harassment and abuse, supporting The Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse in their efforts to combat this issue. The project’s impact is tied to our mission to create a safer and more inclusive online environment for all.
Through extensive desk research, use case development and stakeholder engagement, we recommended four areas of focus for the EHRC’s Strategic Plan relating to AI and equality and human rights.
Empowering DSIT to assess the Online Safety Bill’s effectiveness with a flexible M&E framework informed by robust research
Researching accreditation approaches across the technology sector to develop recommendations for a tailored accreditation process for the online safety tech industry
Comprehensive research to equip Ofcom with a deep understanding of online content accessibility via search services, informing online safety guidance
Crafting a comprehensive Interactive Services (IS) Model to provide Ofcom with a common framework for understanding user journeys and platform workflows
Developing a ‘minimum-viable product’ for a standards framework to assess online safety compliance solutions
Through mixed methods user research we mapped the prevalence and impact of OVAWG, identified key dynamics characterising how these harms occur, and categorised 18 harm types.