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Patrice

Patrice is worried that her husband, who is also her full-time carer, may be using technology against her. Patrice confides in her disability support worker and they talk about available help.

This personal story shows how women with intellectual or cognitive disability can experience technology-facilitated abuse. It covers available support pathways – to help disability specialists and frontline workers in the domestic and family violence sectors support clients to manage technology-facilitated abuse.

This story is inspired by real events and the characters are played by actors.

eSafety has developed dedicated resources for disability workers.

Visual Audio

Click here to watch this video with Audio Description.

Patrice’s story – transcript of audio

Patrice: With my husband’s support I have managed my disability pretty well. Our son Charlie turns six next month. Brad helps around the house and drives me to medical appointments. But things have changed lately. Brad wants to control everything I do. To be honest, I feel trapped and not happy anymore.
Patrice: Feeling in control and independent matters to me, especially when living with a disability.
Support worker: As your support worker I I’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself lately. Are you OK Patrice?
Patrice: There has been a few changes at my home lately. I’m just trying to adjust.
Support worker: What changes?
Patrice: Brad put a keypad lock on the front door. I forget the code and get locked out.
He installed cameras in the house. For my own safety he said, to keep an eye on things while he’s at work.
Support worker: Hey, how did your phone screen get cracked?
Patrice: Oh… Brad, um dropped it.
Support worker: Are you getting it fixed?
Patrice: Brad says I don’t need a phone because he is all I need. He doesn’t like me talking to anyone. To save arguments, I’ve stopped calling people. 
Support worker: Well, how did he know?
Patrice: I caught him going through my phone and he gets into my emails without asking. 
Sometimes I can’t login because the passwords are wrong. But Brad seems to get into them easily.
Support worker: And you said he sometimes turns up unexpectedly when you go out? That’s strange.
Patrice: Well, my sister noticed a tracking app on my phone.
Support worker: What did Brad say?
Patrice: He blamed my disability for needing to know where I am. I was furious. He filmed me getting angry and he now has proof I’m not a good Mum. 
Support worker: I know you’re a great Mum.
Patrice: I worry if we break up, I will lose my home and custody of Charlie.
Support worker: Hey, let’s go outside and chat. It might not be safe to talk in the house. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I know that 1800 Respect can help with domestic and family violence. They can put together a safety plan and their counsellors can help.
Support worker: About Brad abusing you with technology, we can check the eSafety website together. It has tips on using phones and computers safely. There are Easy Read guides too.
Patrice: I now know Brad was trying to control me and used technology to help him. That is still abuse and it’s not OK. I know it wasn’t my fault.   I am slowly taking back control of my life.


 

Patrice's story

Audio

Patrice’s story – transcript of audio

Patrice: With my husband’s support I have managed my disability pretty well. Our son Charlie turns six next month. Brad helps around the house and drives me to medical appointments. But things have changed lately. Brad wants to control everything I do. To be honest, I feel trapped and not happy anymore.
Patrice: Feeling in control and independent matters to me, especially when living with a disability.
Support worker: As your support worker I I’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself lately. Are you OK Patrice?
Patrice: There has been a few changes at my home lately. I’m just trying to adjust.
Support worker: What changes?
Patrice: Brad put a keypad lock on the front door. I forget the code and get locked out.
He installed cameras in the house. For my own safety he said, to keep an eye on things while he’s at work.
Support worker: Hey, how did your phone screen get cracked?
Patrice: Oh… Brad, um dropped it.
Support worker: Are you getting it fixed?
Patrice: Brad says I don’t need a phone because he is all I need. He doesn’t like me talking to anyone. To save arguments, I’ve stopped calling people. 
Support worker: Well, how did he know?
Patrice: I caught him going through my phone and he gets into my emails without asking. 
Sometimes I can’t login because the passwords are wrong. But Brad seems to get into them easily.
Support worker: And you said he sometimes turns up unexpectedly when you go out? That’s strange.
Patrice: Well, my sister noticed a tracking app on my phone.
Support worker: What did Brad say?
Patrice: He blamed my disability for needing to know where I am. I was furious. He filmed me getting angry and he now has proof I’m not a good Mum. 
Support worker: I know you’re a great Mum.
Patrice: I worry if we break up, I will lose my home and custody of Charlie.
Support worker: Hey, let’s go outside and chat. It might not be safe to talk in the house. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I know that 1800 Respect can help with domestic and family violence. They can put together a safety plan and their counsellors can help.
Support worker: About Brad abusing you with technology, we can check the eSafety website together. It has tips on using phones and computers safely. There are Easy Read guides too.
Patrice: I now know Brad was trying to control me and used technology to help him. That is still abuse and it’s not OK. I know it wasn’t my fault.   I am slowly taking back control of my life.
 

Patrice's story - Audio Description

If you are feeling unsafe right now, call the police on Triple Zero (000) or contact 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). Remember your safety is important. If an abusive person learns that you are seeking resources and information, their abusive behaviour may get worse. Learn more and connect with support.