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Term of the Month

Defining Criminal Justice Research

Welcome to NIJ’s Term of the Month. Each month we are featuring a term from our scientific research portfolios informing significant American justice system issues and solutions. Along with a definition, we are providing links to related resources — publications, videos, etc. — that illuminate the featured term.

April 2021 — Technology-Facilitated Abuse

Technology-Facilitated Abuse refers to harmful acts or courses of conduct facilitated through digital means that can compromise victims’ privacy and cause them to fear for their safety. Examples of such conduct are cyberstalking, nonconsensual pornography, swatting, doxing, and sextortion.

Personal harm from digital abuse extends far beyond the digital realm. These acts can cause serious psychological distress and damage relationships with family, friends, and partners and disrupt educational and professional pursuits.

Sextortion — A form of cyber extortion featuring an online attack on victim systems, for example through ransomware, in which offenders demand sexual images, sexual favors, or other things of value in exchange for stopping the attack.

Nonconsensual pornography — Distribution of nude or sexually explicit images or videos of an individual without consent.

Cyberstalking — Repeated use of electronic communications to stalk a person or group.

Doxing — Public release of private and sensitive personal identifying information about an individual without their consent. (The word “doxing” is derived from “documents.”)

Swatting — False report of an emergency to trigger an emergency response, specifically deployment of a SWAT team, to a location where no emergency exists.

NIJ Resources:

Date Created: January 28, 2021