As technology becomes a part of everyone’s day to day lives, it is becoming more prevalent in abusive relationships.
Almost every woman WDVCAS have assisted have been abused through technology.
Technology facilitated abuse takes many forms including the following behaviours:
- Abusive messages or calls;
- Constant calls or messages;
- Receiving inappropriate or distressing content on your device;
- Accessing a person’s personal accounts, including MyGov, online banking, My Health Records, emails and social media accounts
- Locking a person out of their personal accounts;
- Sharing or threatening to share intimate images with others or on the internet;
- Creating fake social media accounts. These accounts could be pretending to be the a person and post content to isolate them, or the fake accounts can be used as ways to contact a person after they have been blocked;
- Installing GPS or other spyware on a person’s device to monitor them
Online Safety Checklist
The eSafety Commissioner provides information and advice on how to keep your devices safe and how stay safe online. Below are some of the tips the eSafety Commissioner recommends:
Use a safe device
A safe device is one your partner or family member cannot access. This could mean getting a new phone or computer, using a friends device, or going to a public library.
Change your passwords
If your partner or family member knows your passwords for personal accounts, change these passwords to prevent their access.
Set up a new email account
Use this new email for new bank accounts, contacting government agencies, contacting support services, contacting legal help.
Keep using your old email account for day to day communication to prevent your partner or family member from getting suspicious or angry.
Trust your gut feeling
If you feel your partner or family member has accessed information on your device or accounts then trust that feeling. Stop accessing important information on your device and create new accounts.
Add passcodes or pins to all devices
Add a new passcode to all devices and ensure the device auto-locks after a short period of time. Do not give the passcode to your partner or family member.
Do not save your passwords on your device
Some accounts will allow you to save your log in and password details so you do not have to log in everytime you enter the website. Do not save these details on a device your partner or family member has access to.
Ditch your device or leave it at home
If you think your partner or family member is tracking you through your phone, then leave it at home, especially if you are going to a service who is helping you leave the abusive situation.
Use private or incognito mode when browsing
Using private or incognito mode will ensure the website you visit is not recorded on your browser history. Alternatively ensure you delete your browsing history.
Reporting online abuse
The eSafety Commissioner can also investigate cyberbullying, image-based abuse and illegal and harmful content posted online. The eSafety Commissioner is able to remove abusive content from the platform it was posted on. For further information on how to report online abuse contact the eSafety Commissioner here.