With a disturbing increase in the use of technology to control, stalk and abuse Australian women, a new initiative—eSafetyWomen—launches today to help empower and encourage women to take control of the technology in their lives.
‘Sadly, research shows that one in six Australian women have experienced violence from a current or former partner1. A recent, smaller scale, survey also indicates the vast majority of domestic violence workers had clients who had experienced technology facilitated abuse2,’ says Commissioner Alastair MacGibbon.
‘Portable devices, apps and social media are commonly exploited in abusive relationships. While explaining the risks, eSafetyWomen also shows how technology can be used positively, to protect women against their abusers,’ says MacGibbon.
Step-by-step guidance provided on the site shows women how to enhance privacy and security on portable and home devices, when browsing online, sharing photos, and using apps and social media services.
The eSafetyWomen site invites women to:
- conduct a technology check-up and discover ways to protect themselves and their personal information online
- take a virtual tour to find ways to safeguard themselves at home, in the car and using personal devices
- watch case study videos showing ways women can take control of technology in their lives.
‘The site provides practical information vulnerable women may need, in the one place, as safely and discreetly as possible,’ says MacGibbon.
Additionally, training will be rolled out nationally to frontline professionals working with women affected by domestic violence, equipping staff to effectively assist clients experiencing technology facilitated abuse.
The eSafetyWomen training materials were jointly created by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner and WESNET (Australia’s peak women’s advocacy body which works on behalf of women and children who are experiencing or have experienced domestic or family violence), with support from the Department of Social Services.
‘eSafetyWomen is a full service offering for all Australian women—from those who are at risk or are experiencing abuse, to frontline professionals, to women who are looking to safeguard their use of technology more generally,’ says MacGibbon.
eSafetyWomen is an initiative from the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner, forming part of the Australian Government’s Women’s Safety Package to Stop the Violence.
The site will be continually updated with new information and resources as they become available. For more information visit www.esafety.gov.au/women.
1 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, Personal Safety, cat. no. 4906.0, www.abs.gov.au/aussstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4906.0/