Women's Refuge highlights role of technology in domestic violence

Women’s Refuge is highlighting the impact and role technology now plays in fuelling domestic violence.

Its annual appeal this year will delve deeper into the fact that domestic violence isn’t always about physical interaction.

Chief Executive Dr Ang Jury says, “Everyday technology, such as mobile devices and social media platforms are increasingly being used as tools to monitor manipulate shame and control women easily and at a distance.”

According to Women’s Refuge, text messaging and other forms of technology are regularly used in what they say is becoming known as ‘cyber-abuse’ it also says they encounter examples of this on a daily basis.

Current technology available allows abusers to track a woman’s movements, monitor her phone and computer use. Another issue highlighted in this case is identity theft, particularly for women in violent relationships attempting to leave.

Women’s Refuge says it is supporting women who use their services to learn about how to deal with some of the risks technology can have on their safety.

Posters displaying women holding cell phones with messages like “one of the most common tools for abuse is in your pocket,” or, “abuse – now available for download,” are being shown in bus shelters and magazine advertisements this month.

Dr Jury says women should not be dissuaded from asking for help. “There are ways to mask your on-line activity and you can also use a library PC or a friend’s cell or iPad to seek information about personal safety or call Women’s Refuge.