DHH youths as victims, perpetrators, and bystanders of digital sexual violence

Laura Avemarie (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Professorship of Special Education – Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People, including Inclusive Education) and Katharina Urbann (PhD, research associate of the Department of Sign Language and Audio Pedagogy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) initiated the project „Digital protection of sexual violence against DHH children and youths” in 2021, which is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for four years

Laura Avemarie1 , Dennis Oberleiter1 , Eva Hartmann1 , Malte Schott1 & Katharina Urbann2

1 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Germany)

2 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany)

Background: 40 % of hearing youths have already experienced digital sexual violence. It can be assumed that DHH youths are particularly vulnerable to this specific form of violence. Empirical data on digital sexual violence against DHH youths is nonexistent. Methods: Data on lifetime prevalence of digital sexual violence experiences, perpetration, and bystander behavior of DHH youths were collected for the first time. In a mixed-methods study design, a guided questionnaire survey (N = 276) and qualitative interviews (n = 34) were conducted with students from schools for the DHH in Germany. Participants were between 11 and 21 years of age (M = 14.97; SD = 1.92). Results: 77 % of the participants experienced at least one type of digital sexual violence. DHH victims reported that they were perpetrated by peers more frequently than by adults. 20 % of the participants were bystanders, i. e. they witnessed peer perpetration. Discussion: Based on these results, there is an urgent need for preventing DHH youths from suffering and perpetrating digital sexual violence.