LAHORE: The Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) has launched a report about the operations of its Cyber Harassment Helpline, set up four months ago. The Cyber Harassment Helpline is Pakistan’s first dedicated helpline addressing issues of online abuse and violence providing a free, safe, gender-sensitive and confidential service. The helpline support staff gives legal advice, digital security support and psychological counselling to victims of online harassment. The helpline was launched on December 1, 2016. The toll free number [0800-39393] is available to people looking for help between 9am till 5pm, Monday to Friday. The support staff can also be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. According to our findings in the first four months of its operation, the helpline received 513 individual complaints. The total number of calls were 535, with 406 of them being individual cases. A total of 62% of the calls were made by women, whereas 37% of the callers were men. The platform where people face the most harassment was found to be Facebook and most of the complaints were regarding fake profiles, non consensual use of information, blackmailing, unsolicited messages and hacked accounts or devices. Majority of the cases received by the helpline were from Punjab (41.3%) whereas 23.90% individuals did not disclose their location. The helpline also got calls from Sindh (17.8%), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (4.70%), Balochistan (1.30%), Azad Kashmir (0.70%), the federal territory (10.10%) and oveseas (0.20%). After assessing the overwhelming number of cases, the report has identified some recommendations for law enforcement agencies and the government. DRF has recognised the need for further improvement within the National Response Centre for Cyber Crime (NR3C) of the Federal Investigation Agency. The NR3C is understaffed with limited resources which is why there are delays in registration and investigation of cases pertaining to cyber harassment. “We also propose gender-sensitisation training for FIA’s staff, along with recruitment of female investigative officers (IOs). The FIA’s National Response Centers for Cyber Crime needs to be expanded to more cities, as they are currently limited to major cities of Pakistan, which restricts the accessibility to justice and is a deterrent to reporting for many women living in smaller cities or remote locations,” the report stated. Digital Rights Foundation is a registered research-based advocacy non-governmental organisation in Pakistan. Founded by Nighat Dad in 2012, DRF focuses on ICTs to support human rights, inclusiveness, democratic processes, and digital governance. DRF works on issues of online free speech, privacy, data protection and online violence against women.