Technological abuse on the rise in domestic violence incidents
The changing landscape of technology is proving to be a large factor in family disputes, with a recent study by Victorian based research centre ‘SmartSafe’ finding that 80% of domestic violence workers reported that smart phones and related technology are being used to track, stalk and harass partners. This research also indicated that of surveyed abuse victims, over 80% have received text messages that have made them feel afraid and over 60% believe they have been tracked using their phone.
The ACT has launched a new program to train workers in domestic violence to respond to forms of technological abuse.
ACT Minister for Women, Yvette Berry, said “We know that technology can help women and their children to successfully leave violence by assisting them to contact specialist domestic violence services…Sadly, perpetrators can use this same technology to track and continue their abuse.”
The program is designed to train workers in how to better handle technological abuse, as well as raise awareness in the areas that people should be cautious when using technology. Technological abuse is commonly seen in the forms of:
- Large amounts of phones calls that are threatening or abusive
- Repetitive text or social media messages
- Using smart phone applications or social media to track someone’s location
- Uploading spyware to smart phones to monitor the user’s communications.
Many of these concerns can be addressed by monitoring who has access to your phone, maintaining secure passwords, improving privacy settings on social media websites and applications, and disabling the GPS function on your smart phone when it is not required. IT experts are also able to scan phones to check for any interference.
For more information, see SmartSafe’s national study into Women’s Technology Safety: http://www.smartsafe.org.au/sites/default/files/National-study-findings-2015.pdf