The Spread of Digital Intimate Partner Violence: Ethical Challenges for Business, Workplaces, Employers and Management

Jeff Hearn*, Matthew Hall, Ruth Lewis, Charlotta Niemistö

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In recent decades, huge technological changes have opened up possibilities and potentials for new socio-technological forms of violence, violation and abuse, themselves intersectionally gendered, that form part of and extend offline intimate partner violence (IPV). Digital IPV (DIPV)—the use of digital technologies in and for IPV—takes many forms, including: cyberstalking, internet-based abuse, non-consensual intimate imagery, and reputation abuse. IPV is thus now in part digital, and digital and non-digital violence may merge and reinforce each other. At the same time, technological and other developments have wrought significant changes in the nature of work, such as the blurring of work/life boundaries and routine use of digital technologies. Building on feminist theory and research on violence, and previous research on the ethics of digitalisation, this paper examines the ethical challenges raised for business, workplaces, employers and management by digital IPV. This includes the ethical challenges arising from the complexity and variability of DIPV across work contexts, its harmful impacts on employees, productivity, and security, and the prospects for proactive ethical responses in workplace policy and practice for victim/survivors, perpetrators, colleagues, managers, and stakeholders. The paper concludes with contributions made and key issues for the future research agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)695-711
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 19.06.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Digital intimate partner violence (DIPV)
  • Ethics
  • Feminism
  • Gender dynamics at work
  • Gender-based violence
  • Information and communication technologies (ICTs)
  • Intimate partner violence (IPV)
  • Sexual violence
  • Workplace policy on violence
  • Workplace violence


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