Reeve Lanigan

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Domestic violence (DV) is a form of gender-based violence characterized by acts of coercion whereby a perpetrator employs power and control to isolate, surveil, harass, and abuse a current or former intimate partner. The rise of and reliance on digital technologies, especially social networking sites, have intensified gender-based violence and methods of perpetuating DV. The term Digital Coercive Control (DCC) describes mechanisms perpetrators use to stalk, harass, and abuse current or former partners in cyberspace through technological platforms and their associated social media sites. The widespread expansion and power allocated to social networking sites and technology platforms has perpetuated the opportunity for furthering abuse. Not only has digital society fostered the speed and severity at which an individual can be harmed, but technology platforms’ business models often profit from such exploitation, imploring a need to effectively provide a legal remedy for victims now more than ever. This comment focuses specifically on technological corporations’ role in encouraging DCC and how these actors can provide justice. It seeks to understand (1) how contemporary technologies facilitate DCC, (2) how justice is defined and understood for victims of DCC, (3) why current formal and informal legal options fail to provide adequate remedies and, (4) how platforms, as the creators and distributors of digital services, can provide justice for DCC victims by engaging in a system of accountability.