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Lex public

Professor Clare Mcglynn

Sexual Violence in the Metaverse: naming, framing and reforming the criminal law

Date: 22 May 2024, 12pm BST/ 1pm CEST

Digital event


Do current criminal laws cover acts of sexual violence and abuse in the metaverse? Or are new criminal laws required? This lecture will consider the distinctive nature of the harms of sexual violence and harassment in the metaverse and the possible role of the criminal law and related regulation. Women and girls experience exceptionally high levels of abuse and harassment online, and there are indications that such trends are being replicated in the metaverse. While the criminal law applies to some forms of online abuse, is less clear what its application is or will be to immersive experiences such as the metaverse. This lecture raises examines current experiences of abuse and harassment, the harms and the role of the criminal law.


Bio: Clare McGlynn KC (Hon) is a Professor of Law at Durham University, UK and a leading authority on regulating image-based sexual abuse, deepfake abuse and pornography. Her research and policy advice has been instrumental to the adoption of new criminal laws tackling online abuse, including cyberflashing and deepfake porn and she has worked with coalitions of survivors, politicians and policy-makers to improve protections for women and girls in the UK’s Online Safety Act, the EU’s Digital Services Act and the EU’s gender violence directive. She has worked with Meta, TikTok, Google and Bumble to shape better responses to online abuse and her recent books include Cyberflashing: recognising harms, reforming laws (2021) and Image-Based Sexual Abuse: a study on the causes and consequences of non-consensual imagery (2021).
LEX Research Network