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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W025493/1
Title: Equally Safe Online
Principal Investigator: Rieser, Professor V
Other Investigators:
Konstas, Dr I
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr G Abercrombie
Project Partners:
Alana AI Ltd Education Scotland End Violence Against Women Coalition
Facebook UK Fix The Glitch
Department: S of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2022 Ends: 31 May 2025 Value (£): 839,660
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Computational Linguistics
Human Communication in ICT
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
EP/W025272/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Feb 2022 Equitable Digital Society Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
We address the timely topic of online gender-based violence (GBV): Almost 1 in every 2 women and non-binary people (46%) reported experiencing online abuse since the beginning of COVID-19 (Glitch report, 2020). Our aim is to create 'equally safe' online spaces by prevention, intervention and support for online GBV through the development of advanced Machine Learning algorithms.

In contrast to previous research in this area, our team will include experts on GBV and online harassment to ensure that we frame the problem in a way which is most helpful to victims/survivors of GBV. In other words, we not only focus on *how* to automatically detect online abuse, but also re-think *what* it is we need to detect, how we can *support* the victims and how to *prevent* online GBV through promoting digital citizenship (i.e. prevention and intervention aimed at perpetrators and bystanders).

Our methodology is based on the Scottish Government's Equally Safe strategy and implements a Responsible Innovation Approach in a close collaboration with 3rd sector charities with a long-standing track record in this domain. Our proposal aims to create the following impacts:

1. Create longterm technical solutions to support safer online spaces, including advanced abuse detection tools, tools to automatically generate counter narratives aimed at perpetrators and bystanders, and a chatbot for providing proactive support to victims/survivors.

2. Promote 'equitable' algorithms which are able to reflect multiple perspectives/viewpoints and not marginalise minority views;

3. Increase digital literacy concerning the safe use of social media from an early age.
Key Findings
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk