Program is out now

Wesnet’s 5th Technology Safety Summit

The program will take place over two full days, starting at 9:00 AM on Monday, 16 October with registration opening at 8:00 AM. The summit will close around 5 PM on Tuesday, 17 October. A light lunch and morning and afternoon teas will be provided.

Day 1  – Monday 16 October 2023

1A – Welcome to Country


1B – Conference welcome

Julie Oberin AM

National Chair of WESNET, Julie Oberin AM will open the conference and welcome the delegates. 

1C – Welcome message 

Vicki Brady, Telstra

1D – Conference overview

Karen Bentley, CEO WESNET

As we settle into the conference proceedings, Karen Bentley will provide the delegates with an overview of what is to come in 5th Technology Summit. 

1E – Opening keynote: Resistance and Hope

Jacqui Barker

In this opening keynote we will hear from Jacqui Barker, a passionate advocate about her experiences of surviving violence and her insights around the role of technology both as a survivor and as part of her work today as a men’s behaviour change practitioner.   

Session 2 

2A – What does tech safety mean?

Karen Bentley (WESNET)

CEO of WESNET and co-founder of the Safety Net Australia progam, Karen Bentley, will introduce the topic of Technology Safety and the work of WESNET in this space over the past decade. For us to truly support survivors, enhance our services, and hold offenders accountable, we need to understand technology’s impact on victims, the possibilities for misuse, and the potential for strategic use. These first sessions by the technology safety specialists of WESNET will include a crash course in the basics of technology safety, designed to help participants navigate through the ever-changing landscape of a tech saturated world and the intersections with our work. 

2B – Technology abuse 101

Joanna Colautti (WESNET) 

Tech abuse is a form of abuse that involves the misuse of technology in order to hold power and control over someone. It is often used by perpetrators of domestic abuse as part of a larger pattern of coercive control.  For us to truly support and educate survivors, enhance our frontline services and hold perpetrators of tech abuse accountable we need to understand how technology can be misused and the potential strategies for strategic use in order to enhance safety. This session is an overview in the basics of technology safety. It is designed to help participants understand the ways in which the constantly evolving landscape of technology intersects with our work supporting survivors. The content of this presentation is designed to help participants feel better prepared to guide survivors as they work to increase their privacy and safety in the digital world.

2C – Location tracking

Sarah Biordi (WESNET)

This session covers how victim-survivors may be located, monitored, and surveilled through technology in the context of domestic and intimate partner violence. It explores the more commonly used tactics including tracking through purpose-built trackers, inbuilt applications (apps) like ‘Find My’, or through viewing account data, through to the more complex tactics such as accessing the backend of accounts and apps, extracting geolocation data, or using malware such as stalkerware or spyware. Attendees will learn how this type of abuse can occur, how to identify the technology being used, where to look for evidence, what to do about it, and how to protect against the likelihood of it occurring.

Session 3

3A – Addressing tech-facilitated financial abuse

Jasmine Opdam (Redfern Legal Centre)

Technology-facilitated abuse and financial abuse are insidious forms of domestic abuse that often occur concurrently as part of a larger pattern of coercive control. As we increasingly rely on technology to access and manage our finances, we see this same technology being weaponised as a tool of financial abuse with serious detrimental impacts on victim survivors’ safety, financial security and wellbeing. This session will explore common scenarios and case studies at the intersection of tech abuse and financial abuse, legal remedies and responses, and practical tips for caseworkers to help victim-survivors improve their digital financial security.

3B – U Right Sis? Empowering First Nations Women to identify and respond to technology-facilitated abuse

Chay Brown & Kayla Glynn-Braun, Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation

U Right Sis? is a place-based community-driven  violence prevention program that works in nine Central Australian communities. U Right Sis? works alongside communities to empower them to identify and respond to technology-facilitated abuse. This presentation will share the U Right Sis? approach as well as some key learnings from the grassroots. 

3C – Disrupting and preventing sexualised deepfake abuse: Findings from a multi-country study

Associate Professor Asher Flynn (Monash University) 

The science of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become integrated into every aspect of human life. Although the potential benefits of well-designed, appropriately deployed AI technologies are immense, it is increasingly clear such technologies are also used for abusive purposes. In 2019, an app was released allowing users to create convincing sexualised deep fakes of any female using any image of them including publicly available online images. This presentation reports on a cross-country study of deepfake abuse across the UK, NZ and Australia. It explores the pervasiveness and harms of deepfake abuse and whether legal responses are keeping pace.

3D – TFA perpetration and potential opportunities and interventions to enhance accountability and prevent violence

Associate Professor Bridget Harris (Monash University)

Insights into perpetration of technology-facilitated family violence (or digital coercive control) and opportunities to prevent and disrupt perpetration are urgently needed. Drawing on research and practice work with people who identify as perpetrating violence, I consider behaviours and tactics deployed, emotions, motivations and narratives used to excuse, justify, minimise and deny harm. I also draw on the perceptions, experiences and insights of facilitators of Men’s Behaviour Change Programs to consider opportunities to address digital harms, and challenge norms and drivers associated with the weaponising of technology. Emphasis is on policy and practice implications and strategies for sector workers.

Session 4

4A – Industry keynote: Empowering women and society through technology

Dayle Stevens OAM (Executive, Data & AI at Telstra)

As the closing speaker for Day 1 of this Summit, this presentation takes the opportunity to discuss where we find ourselves today and how we can turn the tables and empower society, in particular women, through technology. The presentation addresses the crucial themes of gender equality, the rise of AI, and digital inclusion; and highlights the positive opportunities for women to lead and shape a better future. It will be through this leadership that issues to do with tech safety will have a better prospect of success.

4B – Techtionary and Day 1 summary & wrap up 

Sarah Biordi, Technology Safety Specialist, Natalie Morris, Event Coordinator & Diana Hookey, WESNET

As we close Day 1 of the Tech Summit, join Sarah and the team for a summary of the day and an opportunity to play dictionary. There are prizes for those who participate.

Day 2  – Tuesday 17 October 2023

5A – Opening of Day 2

Karen Bentley, CEO WESNET

Settle in for Day 2, with housekeeping and other updates from Karen and the team at WESNET. 

5B – Prioritising safety and privacy: Panel discussion with representatives from technology companies

Facilitator Karen Bentley (WESNET) with guests from Telstra, Uber, CommBank and Meta

For this year’s tech panel, we’re focusing on the decisions to prioritise privacy and safety in the design and implementation of technology. We’ll hear from representatives from leading technology companies and corporations about efforts and challenges to prevent and address abuse, increase privacy and focus on overall well-being.   

Session 6

6A – Can CCTV provide safety and security for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence? A report on findings of original research.

Dr Diarmaid Harkin & Dr Mary Iliadis (Deakin University)

This presentation reports on the findings of an Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) funded project into the use of CCTV by victim-survivors of domestic and family violence.

This study delivers original and vital knowledge on how often CCTV is being used by DFV organisations across Australia and documents the range of positive and negative impacts it is having on victim-survivors. We will report on the findings of our national survey and original interviews with victim-survivors, support workers and private security companies. The presentation will reflect upon a possible national roadmap to promote the successful use of CCTV for victim-survivors of DFV.

6B – Spyware+

Sarah Biordi (WESNET)

This Spyware+ session will provide an insight into various covert monitoring and surveillance tactics of mobile devices in the context of DV, including via the deployment of stalkerware/spyware, rootkit malware, and the tactics of phone linking of Android phones and Wi-Fi syncing of iPhones. Participants will learn about the different types of attack, how they are deployed and how to potentially distinguish whether stalkerware/spyware or other forms of technology are being used. Additionally, some practical steps and advice in relation to assisting victim-survivors with risk and safety planning around these invasive forms of tech abuse will be offered.

6C – What it is and how it works 

Sophie Mortimer (SWGfL and UK Revenge Porn Helpline) represents a sea-change in the response to intimate image abuse, putting the power to protect themselves directly into the hands of those who need it. Developed by the not-for-profit charity SWGfL and the Revenge Porn Helpline in the UK, alongside Meta, allows people to create digital hashes of their own intimate content, hashes which are then shared with participating industry platforms to reduce the spread of non-consensual content. This session will look at how the tool works and how it can help protect the people who need it.

6D – Online dating safety

Joanna Colautti (WESNET) & Kirsty Dunn (Tinder Australia) 

This presentation details what technology-facilitated abuse can look like within the context of dating apps. The presentation will explain what dating apps are and how they work with a discussion of the popularity of their use globally and in Australia. The presentation explores some of the more common abuse scenarios that occur within the online dating context including but not limited to online harassment and misogyny, stalking, romance scams and image-based abuse. The session will cover some safety tips for staying safe both online and offline. We will also touch on some options that are available to people who have experienced online abuse related to the use of dating apps. This presentation will be co-presented with Tinder Australia who will talk about their new Dating Safety Guide developed in collaboration with WESNET. Tinder will go through the platform’s existing and new safety and security features. 

6E – Domestic and Family violence and Borders: Beyond Technology Facilitated Harm

Professor Marie Segrave (Monash University)

There is significant interest in the role of technology as an efficiency tool in border administrative functions, from entry to surveillance, and a similar interest in the promise of technologies that can intervene to protect victims and assist police in the context of domestic and family violence. When this form of violence intersects with borders, as it does for temporary migrants, there are critical questions to be posed regarding the role of technology in ensuring invisibility of abuse and of perpetrator.  This presentation will draw on critical issues being asked about the future of technology in controlling borders and its potential consequences for non-citizens experiencing domestic and family violence.

6F – Digital Coercive Control as a Perpetrator Workplace Interference Strategy: Examining Australian Victim-Survivor Experiences

Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon (Monash University)

Research has evidenced the ways in which domestic and family violence (DFV) has a significant impact on victim-survivors’ ability to attend work, to meaningfully engage in work, to fulfill their role expectations, and to participate in the workplace environment. Building on this work, this presentation will examine perpetrators use of digital coercive control as a workplace interference strategy. Presenting findings from a survey of 3,002 victim-survivors who worked in Australia while experiencing DFV, this presentation will explore the nature and impact of digital coercive control as a workplace interference strategy, and the role of workplaces and the service system in preventing and responding to such abuse.

Session 7 

7A – eSafety Reporting Channels: A Workshop for the Sexual Assault and Domestic and Family Violence Sector

Carolyn Wilkes, Office of eSafety Commissioner

This workshop will offer insights into the four reporting channels at eSafety. Participants will be offered practical advice about what can be reported to eSafety and the thresholds required, and how to make, or support someone else to make a report to eSafety.

eSafety helps Australians prevent and deal with harm caused by serious online abuse or illegal and restricted online content. eSafety assists the person targeted by working with online service providers to have content removed from a variety of online platforms, including social media services, email services, chat apps, interactive online games, forums, and websites.

7B – Instagram & Facebook Safety Tools

Mia Garlick (Meta)

Meta offers many tools to help people control their experience on Facebook and Instagram. This workshop will highlight new tools such as hidden words and comment filtering and show where you can learn more about the range of safety, security, privacy, and well-being tools.

7C – Designing for Privacy in Mind

Jenny Yang

This session covers three key takeaways across privacy control settings within Account Safety, Location Safety and Partner Safety

Session 8 

8A – Closing Keynote

Amani Haydar, Award-Winning Writer, Lawyer and Advocate 

8B – Summit wrap up – let’s reflect, synthesize, and consolidate what we have learned together 

Amie Carrington, CEO Domestic Violence Action Centre, WESNET Deputy Chair & Karen Bentley, CEO WESNET

Amie Carrington and Karen Bentley will bring us all back together for a final session to reflect, synthesize, and consolidate what we have learned together. 

8C – Tech Summit Closing Remarks

Amie Carrington, CEO Domestic Violence Action Centre, WESNET Deputy Chair

Amie Carrington, Deputy Chair of WESNET, will formally close the 5th Technology Safety Summit.