Online violence against children in urban and semi-urban settlements in Sri Lanka: A Research on Incidence, Nature and Scope

The digital/cyber landscape of Sri Lanka has been on a path of rapid transformation since the dawn of the new millennium and virtually is on an accelerated growth since the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. Contemporary studies conducted in the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas and Europe have indicated that new forms of online/cyber abuse against children are on the rise such as cyber sexual exploitation, cyber bullying and extortion, online grooming and cyber/ digitally-enabled extremist/violent radicalization of children, among many others. In recent sporadic studies and statistics, it has become evident that those types of cyber violence have been committed against the children of Sri Lanka over the span of the last decade. However, the lack of systematic studies on the issue had been hindering the policymakers and implementers from grasping the exact nature, scope and impact of the problem. Therefore, in September 2019, Save the Children International (Sri Lanka) and World Vision Lanka on behalf of the Consortium to End Online Violence Against Children – Sri Lanka commissioned this research study on the incidence, nature and scope of online violence against children in urban and semi-urban settlements in Sri Lanka, and the mechanisms that respond to cases of online violence against children in Sri Lanka. This research is a part of a project supported by the GPEVAC that aims to end all forms of online violence against children in Sri Lanka. This study was concluded in February 2021. This study has three key objectives: z To assess the incidence, magnitude and impact of online/cyber violence against children in Sri Lanka. z To assess the nature and effectiveness of response and support mechanisms currently available for children in responding to incidents of online/cyber violence committed against them. z To learn and incorporate the views and proposals of children on measures required to prevent online/ cyber violence, and a responsive and impactful response mechanism, that addresses both the effective and efficient enforcement of the law, as well as provision of appropriate and effective psychosocial support.