Vienna - Stalking of young women online and via smartphones has emerged as a significant problem in Europe, according to a broad EU-wide study published Wednesday.
One in 10 women between the ages of 18 and 29 have received offensive or threatening messages via text messages, email or on online social networks, according to a report on violence against women by the Vienna-based EU Fundamental Rights Agency.
Many women who experience cyber-stalking or are physically pursued by a man say such activities went on for several years, with the FRA noting that "the emotional and psychological consequences of stalking can be long-lasting and deep-seated."
The highest rate of cyber-stalking in an EU country was recorded in Sweden, where a quarter of young women are victims.
The problem is least acute in Spain, Portugal and Slovenia, where the rates are below 5 per cent.
The EU agency called on social media providers to be more active in helping female victims.