Appalling stats show one third of Kiwi women victim to online abuse, including death and rape threats

One third of Kiwi women have experienced online abuse and harassment according to new research by Amnesty International. 

Seventy-five per cent of victims say they struggled to sleep following the abuse and half felt their personal safety was at risk. 

Amnesty's New Zealand campaign director Meg de Ronde said on TVNZ1's Breakfast today the study looked at eight countries, with the abuse including any type of attacks like death and rape threats and intimate photos shared online without consent.

Almost half of victims decrease their social media use or stop altogether. 

"When we're thinking about freedom of expression, this is excluding women from a really important platform."

She said the fall out of the abuse was a serious issue. 

"We've just seen recently all of the allegations coming out around various Hollywood producers, we certainly know women are more likely to get harassed or abused in everyday life, but I think the internet magnifies it."

"You can get an abusive notification when you're hanging out with friends, when you're at work, it really invades your personal space and privacy."

She said New Zealand's Harmful Digital Communication Act has mostly been working against non consensual intimate image sharing, but not necessarily addressing when strangers attack people online.

Ms de Ronde said education was an important tool in cracking down on online harassment, governments needed to lead charge against the abuse and that tech companies need to do everything within their power to respect human rights of women.

"More still needs to be done. I think even they [large technology comapnies] are recognising they cannot continue operating a business that isn't safe for some of their users."

If you have received online abuse or need help, contact Netsafe

Amnesty International found some of the abuse included rape and death threats. Source: Breakfast