STUDIO

BUSINESS

"Seguras en línea"

A successful story in Legal Innovation

submitted by  Camila Andrade Dangond

contributors: Marión Briancesco Arias, Annette Alcedo, Abel José Tarazona Reyes, Julio Xavier Arenas, Jennifer Vega and Camila Andrade Dangond

published in

The Legal Design Journal
Issue #1 2024

date

July 2024

Category

Studio / Business

submitted by

Camila Andrade Dangond

Seguras en línea: A successful story in Legal Innovation [1]

 Camila Andrade Dangond, 2024 [2] 

We live an era characterized by the constant use and interaction with technology and digital environments. Also, our current society is characterized by having inherited and assumed the responsibility of combating structural problems that arose in the last century and that have become global challenges focused on inventing solutions aimed at generating material equality, greater guarantee of access to justice and respect for human life and dignity. 

While technological advances have immense transformative potential, they also threaten to deepen inequalities that exist in our world, particularly in latin america, where a lack of resources, lack of education and social norms that perpetuate systemic inequalities prevail.

However, legal design, a multidisciplinary methodology that combines technological solutions, people-centered design principlesand strong legal foundations, emerges as a promising avenue to address most of nowadays complex issues related to human rights. 

This success story begins at the end of 2022, when the opportunity arose to participate in labicpa [3] a citizen innovation lab that brings together diverse teams to collaborate on projects aligned with a common theme. That year the theme revolved around digital and technological inequalities that disproportionately marginalize women and girls. In this context, flourished, a platform conceptualized by ipandetec [4] to counteract digital violence against women in Latin America through educational resources and empowerment of its users. What distinguished this project was the synergy of a multidisciplinary and multicultural team [5], composed predominantly of women. This diversity of perspectives, coupled with the application of legal design principles centered on human needs, laid the groundwork for a technological and intuitive solution and firmly anchored in the rule of law and respect for women’s dignity, equality and autonomy. 

Problem

The “Seguras en Línea” project initially aimed to build a mobile app primarily to showcase survey results and interview findings around digital violence previously gathered by IPANDETEC. However, upon deeper reflection, the team realized that merely disseminating awareness about an issue that is already widely overlooked would yield minimal impact. In order to create a much more impactful solution, the team initiated an extensive review process of the data collected in IPANDETEC’s anonymous survey [6]. This survey and research allowed us determine: 

3 key problems…

…that marked our starting point during the innovation laboratory:

Insufficient Data

The absence of reliable data on digital violence against women seriously limits the ability to design and implement comprehensive public policies that guarantee access to justice [7]. For this reason, the first thing that was done was to conduct an anonymous survey campaign to collect the minimum necessary information on the realities and experiences around digital violence victims.

Prevention & Education

There is a clear need to develop educational resources and awareness-raising initiatives focused on equipping people, especially women and girls, with the necessary knowledge and tools to proactively identify risks, make informed decisions and take preventive measures against the various forms of violence women experience [8].

Victims Support & Empowerment

For those already impacted by digital violence, a striking need emerged for support systems and resources tailored to their unique vulnerabilities. Providing guidance on recognizing situations of abuse, understanding legal options, and accessing psychological aid became paramount in empowering victims to navigate their traumatic circumstances and break cycles of victimization [9].

Legal issues impacted

Access to justice

Equitable access to justice is a fundamental human right that must be guaranteed to all individuals, regardless of gender or circumstance9. However, in the case of digital violence against women and girls, structural barriers discourage reporting abuse, accessing legal and psychological services and obtaining adequate judicial protection. The development of this project highlighted the lack of accessible channels for reporting these cybercrimes and widespread misinformation about available legal mechanisms. These barriers perpetuate a cycle of impunity that exacerbates the vulnerability and re-victimization of women and girls in digital spaces in most Latin American countries [10].

Gender based violence

Throughout history and today, women and girls have faced disproportionate levels of violence, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, rooted in gender-based discrimination and power imbalances. The World Health Organization estimates that one in three women globally has experienced physical or sexual violence [11]. Latin America, in particular, has alarmingly high rates of gender-based violence, including femicide and widespread sexual harassment. Addressing this requires comprehensive measures that tackle the root causes, promote gender equality and empowerment, and strengthen laws and institutions to protect and support women and girls [12].

Framework & Approach

Framework

How to design a tangible and scalable service & product that centers on the experience of female victims?
How to align it with humans principles, and ensure a deep understanding of digital violence?

Easy! Through a gender perspective framework.

Approach

Methodology

This project was developed using a pioneering approach and a gender perspective framework [13]. The methodology [14] consists of a structured, four-step iterative process: 

Quick process view

The team started the empathize and discovery phase by conducting desk research and women interviews to deeply understand the app users context and identify their challenges. During the definition phase, the data was interpreted to discern key behavioral patterns and insights that would shape the solution. In the development phase, the team collaborated to generate a wide range of innovative and practical ideas through cocreation techniques. Finally, in the delivery phase, a prototype was created and tested with users to ensure its usability and effectiveness. 

Applying Legal Service Design principles [15] allowed the team to focus on a user-centric approach, addressing digital violence against women while enhancing user experience and access to justice. The Gender Perspective Framework ensured the solution was tailored to the specific needs and experiences of women and girls, addressing genderbased inequalities and promoting equality and social justice. 

1. Empathize & Discover

The team conducted interviews with a diverse group [10]. Insights were gathered on the frequency of digital violence, reactions to it, and potential actions to face it. Participants were asked which steps would they take in case of experiencing digital violence? Who they would turn to for help? How much potencial and value they saw of an app related to digital violence? This among other relevant questions. 

The desk research was initiated to examine the domestic legal framework concerning digital violence against women in Panama. A significant revelation pertained to Panama’s Law 83/2013 [16], which “recognizes various forms of violence against women and delineates measures for victim protection and offender sanctioning”. Remarkably, none of the interview respondents demonstrated familiarity with this legislation. Additionally, an exploration of the international legal framework pertaining to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals was undertaken to address pivotal aspects of this project, namely access to justice and gender equality. 

2. Define

Based on the survey and the victims testimonies, it was possible to identify 11 distinct forms of digital violence [17].

  • Access, use, control, manipulation, and/ or publication of private information and personal data. 
  • Online defamation. 
  • Sexual exploitation facilitated by technology 
  • Impairment of expression channels and coordinated attacks. 
  • Online extortion 
  • Discriminatory expressions and hate speech. 
  • Non-consensual dissemination of intimate content. 
  • Online threats. 
  • Impersonation and online identity theft. 
  • Online stalking. 
  • Online sexual harassment.

The team dedicated efforts to grasp the primary pain points and requirements of the victims. We seized opportunities for innovation to address these challenges by posing the question: how might we? Here’s what we uncovered:

INSIGHTS

 

Insufficient information on digital violence

Many women may not even understand that they are experiencing digital violence.

Insufficient attention

Major stakeholders, including law enforcement, the community, legal professionals, and prosecutors, often fail to lend an ear to victims, necessitating them to recount their experiences multiple times before being acknowledged, thereby perpetuating the cycle of revictimization.

Insufficient support

Various hurdles within the legal, institutional, and psychological realms, necessitating external support to navigate these each of these challenges independently.

OPPORTUNITIES

 

How might we…

…allow individuals to identify the type of digital violence they are experiencing?

…help individuals to learn about potential solutions against digital violence? 

…connect digital violence victims with psychological and legal support hotlines? 

…create a reporting channel for digital violence victims that would guarantee an innovative, accessible, and clear legal experience?

3. Develop

ADN

To start co creating the app, the first thing we did was to define the ADN of our app: attributes (A), descriptors (D), and needs (N). With this, we erased all the questions and doubts we had at that point because we cleared up its purpose, target audience and value proposition. 

The final ADN we cocreated was:

“A tool that provides close and transparent guidance and support to users in the search for solutions to digital violence.” 

4. Delivery

Paper prototype

Although we did it not on paper but on an interactive whiteboard, it was an exercise in which each member of the group created their prototype by imagining the content, the order and the interaction that users would have with the interface and the experience of the application. In this way, we were able to make a checklist of user needs and expectations that should be covered by our final prototype. One of the best proposals of this exercise was to make a test that would allow victims to identify the type of digital violence they are experiencing.

Figure 5: Presenting multiple ADR approaches with their pros and cons would not be possible without the layered design approach. After several iterations, this design turned out to provide the easiest entry, based on the current stage of escalation.

Final Delivery

Having our final prototype created in Figma was very useful since the team members live in different countries, and once our time together in Panama was over, we needed a collaborative platform to continue iterating the prototype. During the closing ceremony and presentation of the Lab, we also used Adobe XD to have a working version to test the user experience and interface with the public.

Figure 6: The last step of the tool provides step-by-step guidance for the chosen path.

Solution, Conclusion & Comments

Solution

Throughout the project, we aimed to address the three main problems faced by victims of digital violence: insufficient data, preventive and educational efforts are needed and victim support and empowerment. The application “Seguras en Línea” was conceived and developed through the legal service design methodology to fulfill several purposes: 

t provides useful information and resources about digital violence in an easy-to-understand manner. This way, anyone can identify if they are a victim of this type of violence and determine which of the 11 types of digital violence their particular case falls under. 

It allows users to file a formal legal complaint in a guided and straightforward way through the app, with instructions for submitting them to the authorities.

It efficiently connects victims of violence with psychological, legal, and digital security support, as well as a support community.

In this way, we achieve the goal of empowering women and girls through technology18, closing the digital gap, promoting gender equality, and ensuring a better access to justice.

Conclusion & Comments

This app simplifies access to justice for women and reduces significantly the number of steps required to obtain legal or psychological assistance in cases of violence against women. However, the procedural part remains the same. Although progress has been made to make the initial stage of filing a complaint, there is still a long way to go to make the entire judicial process simpler, more integral and efficient. 

In other words, while we managed to impact a very important part of the journey, it is neither the largest nor the most significant stage. This should be considered when exploring ways to further expand the reach and impact of the app. This includes not only making it accessible to all victims of digital violence at all times, but also ensuring it is a useful tool for parents, friends, and public and private organizations. Another of the next goals is to secure the support of prosecutors’ offices throughout the Latin American region and engage private companies to aid in the fight against digital violence against women and girls. 

Special thanks & bibliography

Special thanks

I would like to express my deepest gratitude, on behalf of myself, to all the individuals and institutions whose commitment and collaboration made this important project possible.

First and foremost, to the incredible team of professionals who were part of the LABICPA innovation laboratory. Your dedication and teamwork were fundamental to the development of the Seguras en Línea app and the other participating projects.

I also extend my gratitude to the women and victims who feel abandoned in the face of the digital divide, and who, by sharing their experiences, provided us with valuable insights for creating a truly useful and effective tool. We are also thankful to the public and private organizations that provided us with their support and knowledge. Likewise, we want to acknowledge the backing that the private sector can have by collaborating and contributing to expanding the reach and impact of the application.

Finally, we thank all the parents, friends, and community members that promote a culture of respect and safety in the digital environment. Together, we are building a safer and more equitable future for women and girls across Latin America.

Bibliography

1. “Seguras en Línea,” which means “Women Safe Online,” is a platform developed by IPANDETEC to enhance digital safety for women and girls in Latin America. https://segurasenlinea.ipandetec.org/
2. Camila Andrade Dangond holds a law degree (with a minor in Art and another in Photography) from the Universidad de los Andes – Uniandes (Bogotá, Colombia). Currently working as an independent and international consultant in Legal Innovation, Legal Design and Legal Services Design. E-mail: camila.andrade.dangond@gmail.com or Linkedin: @camilaandraded.
3 .LABICPA was the 8th Citizen Innovation Laboratory held in Panama and organized jointly by SEGIB (Ibero-American General Secretariat)’s Division of Public and Citizen Innovation and the Panamanian government. This and other projects can be consulted at: https://www.innovacionciudadana.org/seleccion-personas-colaborar-labicpa/. 
4. IPANDETEC is a non-governmental organization that advocates for the adoption and governance of information and communication technologies (ICTs), while also working to uphold human rights in the digital realm within Panama. https://www.ipandetec.org/ 
5. The team’s multicultural makeup, with members from Cuba, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia and Panama, brought diverse cultural perspectives. Having predominantly female members aligned the solutions with the target users’ lived experiences. This intersectional composition enabled co-creating interventions tailored to the region’s diverse realities.
6. The survey was conceived with Laboratorio Sapiens. (n.d.). Laboratorio Sapiens. https://www.laboratoriosapiens.com/
7. Brief: The state of evidence and data collection on technology-facilitated violence against women. (2023, April 17). UN Women – Headquarters.https://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2023/04/brief-the-state-of-evidence-and-data-collection-on-technology-facilitated-violence-against-women
8. For a more extensive discussion see C. Andrade-Dangond, How Legal Design Modernizes and Restores Law’s Real Value: An Online Safety App Completely Designed For Women And Girls Victims Of Digital Violence (forthcoming). This use case draws from this article and a shorter version in Spanish published in Revista Brasileira de Direito e Inovação – Número 1 (2024). Available at: https://ijeditores.com/pop.php?option=articulo&Hash=17bf177b51065387157e22648c1265e3
9. Human Rights Council. (2018, June 22). Human Rights Council holds Panel discussion on online violence against women human rights defenders. OHCHR. Accessed on March 19, 2023, Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2018/06/human-rights-council-holds-panel-discussion-online-violence-against-women
10. Sustainable Development Goal 16 is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
11. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). (2023). Gender equality and women’s and girls’ autonomy in the digital era: contributions of education and digital transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean. (LC/MDM.64/DDR/1/Rev.1). Accessed on March 19, 2023. Available at: https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/48702/S2300099_en.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=
12. World Health Organization: WHO. (2024, March 25). Violence against women. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women
13. Exploring the data: The prevalence of gender-based violence in Latin America. (n.d.). Wilson Center. https://www.wilsoncenter.org/explore-gbv-data
14. Sustainable Development Goal 5 is to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.”
15. March, C., Smyth, I., & Mukhopadhyay, M. (1999). A Guide to Gender-Analysis Frameworks. Oxfam. Retrieved from Oxford. www.ndi.org/files/Guide%20to%20Gender%20Analysis%20Frameworks.pdf
16. Háptica. (2021, December 13). “Legal Service Design: rediseñando el mundo legal – BITÁCORA NARANJA – Medium. https://medium.com/bit%C3%A1cora-naranja/legal-service-design-redise%C3%B1ando-el-mundo-legal-35b4d203dd7d
17. Hagan. M (2018, April 3). Legal Design Principles. Legal Design Alliance. https://www.legaldesignalliance.org/
18. Hagan, M. (2017). Law By Design. Stanford Law School & Institute of Design. https://lawbydesign.co/
19. The sample to gather qualitative information was composed of mostly women individuals, including NGO leaders and women aged between 20 and 60 years old, aiming to gather information on digital violence experiences. The sample included an interview / meeting with the Security Minister of Panama. 
20. Law No. 82 of October 24, 2013, Adopting measures for the prevention of violence against women and amending the penal code to criminalize femicide and punish acts of violence against women. vLex. https://vlex.com.pa/vid/ley-n-82-24-864656264
21. https://segurasenlinea.ipandetec.org/violencia-digital#app
22. Hermanto, A. (2021). Stuck on a problem? Just ask “How might we?” Relab Academy. https://relab.academy/design-thinking/stuck-on-a-problem-just-ask-how-might-we/
23. In this link you can test the prototype: SEL. (n.d.). https://xd.adobe.com/view/83d72a3c-0d34-4d64-87d2-464d08604ab4-d684/screen/3071c5db-aee9-427f-a3f4-6251f7d6ac9a?fullscreen
24. Power on: How we can supercharge an equitable digital future | UN Women – Headquarters. (2023, February 24). UN Women – Headquarters. Accessed on March 19, 2023. Available at: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/explainer/2023/02/power-on-how-we-can-supercharge-an-equitable-digital-future

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