Key factors affecting online sexual harassment

Gender and vulnerability

Such harassment takes place in a gendered context and is deeply rooted in structural relationships of inequality between females and males. This produces disproportionately negative outcomes and experiences for women and girls. Indeed, girls are more likely to be targeted with online sexual harassment than boys, particularly some forms, with these incidents often resulting in more negative consequences for girls.


Online sexual harassment can overlap with discrimination and hate crimes, relating to a person’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, special educational need or disability. Young people in these groups may face unique forms of online sexual harassment, resulting in a more negative impact in both the short and long term, as well as multiple barriers that can prevent them from accessing support.