WESNET Safety Net Australia Service

The WESNET Safety Net Australia project was established in 2011 to examine the intersection of technology and Violence Against Women (VAW). WESNET works closely with the US Safety Net Project run by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).

Our objectives

  • Work with communities and agencies to address how ongoing and emerging technology issues impact the safety, privacy and accessibility rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking.
  • Educate a wide range of community agencies who work with women experiencing all forms of violence on ways to use technology strategically to help find safety and escape domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, stalking and abuse.
  • Advocate for strong local, state, national and international policies that ensure the safety, privacy and rights of all victims and survivors of gender-based violence and to hold abusers accountable.
  • Collaborate to promote digital equity and tech safety, ensuring that survivors can access and fully access and enjoy the benefits of technology as tools to improve their economic and social participation.

What we do

To achieve these objectives, Safety Net Australia provides a wide range of trainings, technical advice, and policy guidance on the topics of technology safety, investigating and evidence collection, and victim privacy and security rights.

  • TrainingLearn more about the types of training we offer.
  • Technical advice – We welcome front-line support workers, investigators, legal professionals, academics, policymakers, and others to contact us for more information on technology-facilitated abuse. Contact us to request training or for more information about technology safety and violence against women.
  • Resources and information – We have a wide range of resources and handouts on technology-facilitated abuse and are constantly developing new resources to address emerging issues. Check out our resources and contact us if you have more questions.
  • Research – we regularly provide expert advice or content for research on the intersection between technology and violence against women. We also undertake important national research on this topic, including the National Survey on Technology Abuse and Domestic Violence in Australia.

Our project is a sister project to the US-based NNEDV Safety Net Project which provides engaging and interactive training, resources and policy assistance in ways that both tech-savvy and non-techie audiences can understand. The Safety Net Australia Service was the first international Safety Net to be established outside the United States.

WESNET: The Women’s Services Network

Safety Net Australia is delivered and managed by the Women’s Services Network (WESNET). Established in 1992, WESNET is a national women’s peak body which works on behalf of women and children who are experiencing or have experienced domestic or family violence.

With almost 320 members across Australia, WESNET represents a range of organisations and individuals including women’s refuges, shelters, safe houses and information/ referral services.

Learn more about WESNET and its projects.

Safe Connections

SafeConnections is an award-winning project with WESNET Safety Net Australia and Telstra to provide free, safe mobile phones to survivors of domestic and family violence, sexual assault, and other forms of violence against women. When survivors are experiencing abuse, having access to safe ways to connect with services and loved ones is crucial.

Telstra is meeting this need by donating 20,000 smartphones with pre-paid credit and WESNET Safety Net Australia, with funding from the Australian Government, is supporting this effort by distributing the phones and providing information on safe use of technology.

Learn more about the SafeConnections project here.

The Safety Net Australia service provides technology safety advice for frontline women’s domestic violence services to support victim-survivors of domestic and family violence who are impacted by technology abuse. 

Although anyone can misuse technology to stalk and harass another person, Safety Net Australia focuses on the ways in which technology can be misused to perpetrate violence against women, particularly in the context of domestic violence. 

Technology, when misused, can be a tool an abuser uses to exert control. It can occur in various forms, some of which are harassment, location tracking, monitoring and surveillance and limiting access to technology. It is a serious type of abuse that often co-occurs with other types of high-risk abuse, making it hard for women to access help. 

Our team of technology safety specialists regularly provide secondary consultation to practitioners in the sector in relation to their clients’ experiences of high-risk technology-facilitated abuse. We support women and their children through our network of over 320 domestic violence specialist services across Australia. Often practitioners and their clients who seek assistance for complex tech abuse by booking a technology safety specialist to join their caseworker appointments to provide additional expert advice to mitigate risks and assist survivors to implement safety strategies as part of safety planning and risk management. 

Our partners, sponsors and collaborators

WESNET gratefully acknowledges the support and assistance from the following organisations in developing the work of Safety Net Australia, WESNET and its programs.