Technology-facilitated abuse is a form of controlling behaviour that involves the use of technology as a means to coerce, stalk or harass another person.
According to a 2013 SmartSafe study, 97% of domestic violence workers reported that perpetrators were using mobile technologies to stalk women in the context of family violence.
Examples of technology-facilitated abuse
- Sending abusive texts, emails or messages via social media
- Making continuous controlling or threatening phone calls
- Making someone prove where they are by sending photos of their location
- Checking someones text messages, social media activity or internet activity
- Forbidding someone from having a phone or limiting who they can contact via phone or internet
- Spying on, monitoring or stalking someone through any type of surveillance device (such as a tracking system or spyware)
- Sharing intimate photos of someone without their consent (sometimes called revenge porn)
Impacts of technology-facilitated abuse
Constantly being harassed with controlling and threatening messages, or being monitored via a phone or GPS tracking device, can leave the target of technology-facilitated abuse feeling powerless and justifiably fearful for their safety. If the survivor is still in a relationship with the perpetrator, technology-facilitated abuse can greatly hinder their ability to leave because they may not be able to access resources, talk privately with friends or contact support services that would assist them to safely leave. If the survivor has left the relationship, technology-facilitated abuse can pose a very real risk to their safety, as it may allow the perpetrator to discover their location – which could lead to stalking or a physical attack – or allow the perpetrator to continuously harass them from afar resulting in emotional and psychological distress.
If you are experiencing technology-facilitated abuse…
- Ensure you are safe – if you have experienced any form of technology-facilitated abuse you should go to your local police station and report it. There are laws against some forms of technology-facilitated abuse, such as the sharing of intimate photos and the installation of surveillance devices without consent. The officers at your local police station should also be equipped to check your phone, car and home for spyware or devices.
- Call safe steps – you can call safe steps 24/7 on 1800 015 188 for confidential support, information and assistance.