This article was originally posted on Telstra Exchange.

by Karen Bentley, National Director – Women’s Services Network (WESNET)

Technology has the potential to be a two-edged sword for those experiencing domestic violence. Working at the Women’s Services Network (WESNET), I’ve seen first-hand how perpetrators can misuse technology to abuse their victims, most often women. This includes threats through email and messages, location stalking, and shaming on social media. Let’s be clear – this behaviour is never OK.

Many women are told to get off technology in order to avoid the abuse.  In today’s world, this is not a practical solution and it also places all the responsibility for avoiding abuse on the victim.

What I’ve also seen are the ways women have positively used technology to protect themselves – and its role in enabling people to stay connected when most needed.

At WESNET we are passionate about tech safety education and empowering women to take back control of their tech. We’ve created a short series of videos to answer some of the most common questions we receive on tech safety from the women we work with.

The videos addressed 5 common questions:

  1. What is technology facilitated abuse?
  2. How does my partner know where I am?
  3. How does my partner know what I’m doing?
  4. How can I stop unwanted contact?
  5. How can I stop harmful things about me from being posted online?

These videos aim to provide top-level information on technology-facilitated domestic abuse. There is a range of information available online, including on our Women’s Technology Safety & Privacy Toolkit. Another site for more general information about online safety for women can be found on the Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s eSafetyWomen website.

Watch videos

Getting help

Abuse, stalking and threatening behaviour is never okay – whether it’s offline or online. Nobody, men or women, children or adults deserves to be abused through technology. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call Triple Zero for assistance, or for confidential information, counselling and support service, contact 1800RESPECT.

Safe Connections Program

Telstra partnered with the Women’s Services Network (WESNET) to help women impacted by domestic violence stay safely connected. Through the Safe Connections Program, Telstra provides smartphones, pre-paid credit and information on the safe use of technology to WESNET to distribute to their partner agencies across the country that work directly with clients impacted by domestic violence.