Increased use of social media is reportedly pushing up the number of prosecutions for offences against women in England and Wales, according to Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions.
"The use of the internet, social media and other forms of technology to humiliate, control and threaten individuals is rising and it is something that we will possibly see increase further," Saunders told The Guardian, after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) published its annual report on violence against women and girls.
"It is undoubtedly easier to commit a lot of these crimes online, people do it without thinking, it is more immediate and it is about the reach and ability to communicate to so many more people."
Revenge porn is an area of growing concern, with over 3,700 victims calling a special helpline created in 2015. However, only a tiny proportion of complaints are processed through the courts, with just 206 prosecutions.
During 2015-16, the CPS prosecuted the highest-ever number of stalking and harassment cases – 12,986. Almost 70% involved ongoing domestic abuse, with many perpetrators using the internet or other technology as tools of harassment and intimidation.
Maria Miller MP – chair of the House of Commons women and equalities committee – asked tech companies to take more responsibility or face paying for the policing of online crimes.
"I am sure there is much more that tech companies can do to stem the flow. There is far more that all of us can do and that society as a whole can do to tackle this and make it unacceptable," she said.
"We need to make sure prosecutors and the police are up to date with how people are using social media, what new platforms are emerging, what type of evidence we might gather and how we might use it in prosecutions."
Crimes against women in numbers
Stalking prosecutions rose by 7.1% to 12,986
Child sex abuse prosecutions rose by 15.4% to 6,217
Rape prosecutions in the past year: 4,643