Towards Understanding Privacy and Trust in Online Reporting of Sexual Assault


Borke Obada-Obieh, University of British Columbia; Lucrezia Spagnolo, Vesta Social Innovation Technologies; Konstantin Beznosov, University of British Columbia


According to the United States Department of Justice, every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. However, sexual assault is under-reported. Globally, 95% of sexual assault cases are unreported, and at most, 5 out of every 1,000 perpetrators end up in prison. Online anonymous third-party reporting systems (O-TPRSs) are being developed to encourage reporting of sexual assaults and to apprehend serial offenders. This paper reports survivors’ concerns with trusting and using an O-TPRS. We conducted focus groups and interviews with 35 participants who are sexual assault survivors, support workers, or both. We asked questions related to participants’ concerns with trusting an O-TPRS. Our results suggest that participants had technological and emotional concerns that are related to survivors’ security and privacy. We provide insights into the challenges of designing O-TPRSs to increase the reporting of sexual assault.

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@inproceedings {255688,
author = {Borke Obada-Obieh and Lucrezia Spagnolo and Konstantin Beznosov},
title = {Towards Understanding Privacy and Trust in Online Reporting of Sexual Assault},
booktitle = {Sixteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2020)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-16-8},
pages = {145--164},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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