Written evidence submitted by the Antisemitism Policy Trust (VAW0002)
1. The Antisemitism Policy Trust is a charity that works to educate and empower parliamentarians and policy makers to address antisemitism. The Trust provides the secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Against Antisemitism.
2. We are pleased that the Home Affairs Committee is investigating the important issue of VAWG. Through our work researching and highlighting online antisemitic abuse, we have taken a particular interest in intersectionality in online misogynistic and antisemitic hate-speech against Jewish women.
3. Cyber violence against women and girls is on the rise: research conducted by the UN Broadband Commission in 2015 found women 27 times more likely to experience online harassment than men. Shockingly, 9 million girls in Europe have experienced online abuse before turning 15. In 2017, research into online abuse of women conducted by Amnesty International found that 21% of respondents had experienced abuse, with 48% of those reporting it to have misogynistic elements. Of those experiencing abuse, 36% reported that the experience left them fearing for their physical safety. Glitch, the charity advocating for safer online space, stated that both men and women experience gender-based online violence, but the majority of victims are women and girls.
4. In 2018, the Antisemitism Policy Trust, in partnership with the Community Security Trust, commissioned a study into the online abuse of Jewish women, carried out by renowned big data expert Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. A significant finding from that research was the overlap between misogynistic attitudes and antisemitism. This is particularly prevalent when it comes to women with political power. The study found that, on the far-right platform Stormfront, female Jewish politicians were particularly subject to antisemitic abuse, and were mentioned 14% more often than male Jewish politicians, including high profile Jewish men like former leader of the opposition Ed Miliband and Commons Speaker John Bercow. This finding was strengthened by a study conducted by the NGO Media Matters, that found an 80% increase in posts containing both antisemitism and misogyny between 2015 and 2017 on the alternative media platform 4Chan.
5. As our briefing ‘Misogyny and Antisemitism’ argued, Jewish women, and in particular female Jewish politicians, are likely to experience more online abuse than their male counterparts. We believe that it is important to recognise the significant psychological impact of misogynistic and antisemitic harassment online. It can include anxiety, stress, panic attacks, and a loss of self esteem. For politically active women more specifically, online abuse can also pose a direct barrier to their freedom of expression and political participation, and make them apprehensive about using social media.
6. This year, the Trust has launched a counter-speech campaign to combat online antisemitism and educate young audiences. The campaign includes several videos, all available online and each tackling a different issue. One of the videos is about online misogynistic antisemitic abuse, featuring actress Tracy-Ann Oberman, who shares her experience with online harassment and talks to the experience of Jewish women.
7. In a report on hate crime in 2018/2019, the Home Office estimated that 12% of hate crimes had more than one motivating factor. Attacking women is therefore done not based on gender but can also involve their religion, race, sexual orientation, disability and more, placing Jewish women at a disadvantageous intersection. Legislation of online hate speech should therefore recognise sexist abuse and violence perpetrated by people with more than one motivating factor.
8. There is a paucity of research and information, understanding and public discourse about intersectional abuse, something the Trust is seeking to address. We hope that the Committee will strengthen calls for intersectional harms to be considered and recognised within the forthcoming Online Safety Bill, and to be part of the Law Commission’s work on amending hate crime laws.
9. The Trust would be pleased to speak with members of the Home Affairs Committee about these or related concerns.
 ‘Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Worldwide Wake Up Call.’ The UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development Working Group On Broadband and Gender, 2015,
 ‘Social Media Can be a Dangerous Place for UK Women,’ Amnesty International UK, November 2017, https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/Resources/OVAW%20poll%20report.pdf
 Home Office (2020) Hate Crime: England and Wales, 2018/2019. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 24/19. London: Home Office.