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Our Work

NORDREF works towards equality and democracy in the Nordic region by developing and sharing knowledge about digital rights and responsibilities, while protecting people's right to safely partake in discussions and other activities online. See how we do this by browsing our current and past projects below.


When Sexual Privacy Meets Gender-Equality in A Digital World: The Nordic Talk

Dick-pics? Rape threats? "Revenge-porn"? On Jan 21, 2022, NORDREF hosted a seminar where leading experts explored the concept of sexual privacy as an urgent and central right in our digital citizenship, in a world where dick-pics are the new norm. Together with our brilliant speakers and audience of 1600 viewers, we explored how this issue affects gender-equality and in turn democracy in the region – and worldwide.

The event was sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers and is a part of the Nordic Talks series, fostering a global dialogue between leading thinkers and the public about how we can all contribute to a more sustainable future. It resulted in a special podcast episode on digital violence against women. 

Participants: The Minister of Industry, Innovation and Higher Education, Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Asha Allen, Advocacy Director for Europe, Online Expression & Civic Space at the Center for Democracy and Technology, Cindy Southworth, Head of Women's Safety at Meta, Christian Mogensen, researcher and expert at the Center for Digital Youth Care, Daniel Godman, Senior expert on Hate Crime and Crimes against Democracy within the National Operations Department of the Swedish Police, Dr. María Rún Bjarnadóttir, Head of Internet Safety for the Icelandic Police Commissioner, and Sophie Mortimer, manager of the Revenge Porn Helpline, UK. The sessions were moderated by NORDREF founders Emma Holten and Thordis Elva.


Profiling Nordic perpetrators of digital violence against women


NORDREF, in collaboration with women’s shelters, police authorities and courts, is conducting research that aims to profile perpetrators of gender-based online abuse in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland, using various sources and methods.

The research focuses particularly on image-based sexual abuse, illegal threats and sexual harassment (including so-called dickpics). The ongoing pandemic has led to an uptake in use of digital communications and a rise in digital manifestations of violence against women, referred to as the ‘shadow pandemic’ by the UN. The negative impact this has on women’s both personal and public life has been evident in a Nordic and a global context. Establishing a perpetrator profile such as age, gender, motive and relationship to the victim lays the foundation for evidence-based proposals with the aim of countering and ultimately preventing online abuse, which in turn strengthens democracy and gender-equality. 

This project is funded by the Nordic Equality Fund (NIKK) 2021-2023.


The Game Changer: 
Countering online
abuse among youth

The Game Changer, a project that is based on NORDREF's research into the perpetrators of online abuse against women and girls in the Nordic region, will create evidence-based tools, campaigns and initiatives aimed at youth, with a special focus on young men who run the highest risk of becoming perpetrators of gender-based online abuse.


The project, which started in September 2023 and will last through 2024, is rooted in an international collaboration between partners in three countries Sweden, Finland and Iceland. Project partners include the E-sports Federation of Iceland, the Swedish gaming organisation SVEROK, the award-winning Finnish initiative Sua Varten Somessa (For You on Social Media) and the Violence Prevention School of Iceland.


The overall aim of the project is to strengthen young people's digital rights and cyber citizenship, by actively countering digital violence. The project will also seek to create young people's "online utopia" by gathering information about the changes to digital environments that young people deem necessary for them to reach their highest potential - and help them craft it, using methods of gaming, community-building and social entrepreneurship.

This project is funded by the Erasmus+ program.

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