eSafety Women workshops-information and advice for the frontline

Tracking devices placed in cars, strollers and walking sticks. Stories of harassment through endless calls and messages. Impersonation. Controlling family members through electronic ‘gifts’ that have spyware or location apps for tracking. Removing or hiding remote controls. Humiliating and intimidating by sharing intimate images. Blocking access to bank accounts. Changing Passcodes to phones. Using Spyware to listen in on calls, and read emails. Locating devices through location apps, and making hundreds of abusive and intimidating calls and messages.

For a number of Australian women, the many ways to intimidate are familiar. It can be hard to manage. But there is help.

In June 2016, the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner launched a new two-hour workshop as part of the eSafety Women program. Focussing on various forms of technology-facilitated abuse including harassment, monitoring and stalking, impersonation, threats and punishment, the workshops have offered valuable help to those working in the domestic violence sector.

In these popular workshops, experienced facilitators share stories, information and advice with attendees, discussing topics ranging from the use of electronic tracking devices, to spyware, drones, location-finding phone apps, and the unique ways that some perpetrators use technology to create fear and intimidate their victims.

During the workshops we offer practical tools that can help workers in the domestic violence area to show their clients how to use technology, with minimised risk. Victim blaming, attitudes toward gender inequality and historical beliefs about the roles of women are all topics of discussion at these sessions.

Attendees include frontline workers in the domestic violence sector: case workers, volunteers, lawyers, police, and those working in crisis housing, youth, alcohol and drug counselling, family services and the management of abuse and violence.

Sessions are fast paced but informal, and allow for participants to share stories, concerns and frustrations. This approach allows the group to share their experiences in a safe and meaningful way. The collaborative approach helps workers empower each other with knowledge and skills to help protect their clients.

To date, over one hundred workshops have been conducted in every state and territory.

At the end of each session participants are invited to respond to an online survey. Responses have been overwhelmingly positive. Participants have recognised the helpful nature of the workshops, information about practical ways to help clients reduce their risk, the benefits of sharing and hearing anecdotes that illustrate common scenarios, and the provision of appropriate solutions and prevention measures.

To attend or arrange a session visit the eSafety Women website