New Report Offers “A Glimpse From the Field”
March 6, 2015
In today’s increasingly interconnected and mobile world, technology has become a necessity – whether it’s applying for a job, managing your to-do list, or keeping in touch, technology is usually involved. This level of connectivity, coupled with the necessity and availability of technology, unfortunately poses risks as technology can also be misused by abusers to stalk, harass, and harm.
Safety Net, a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), was founded to focus on the intersection of technology and domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. We work every day to address how technology impacts the safety, privacy, access, and civil rights of victims.
We created a term, technology safety, to encompass the whole of Safety Net’s work, which includes ensuring that: (1) technology first and foremost does no harm to victims; (2) programs and advocates know how to harness technology safely, appropriately, and effectively in their work; (3) survivors know how to use technology safely to decrease isolation and increase support and stay connected to friends and family; and (4) offenders are held accountable when they misuse technology to stalk, harass, and harm victims.
Safety Net recently conducted a technology safety survey (funded by the Office for Victims of Crime) of victim service providers to assess the misuse of technology by abusers and the results are staggering – if not very surprising. For example, 97 percent of programs reported that the survivors they are working with experience harassment, monitoring, and threats by abusers through the misuse of technology.
Technology has profoundly changed the modern world, and the importance for survivors to remain connected continues to grow. “Telling a woman to go offline if she doesn’t want to be harassed by her abusive ex is completely unacceptable,” explained Cindy Southworth, NNEDV Executive Vice President and founder of the Safety Net project. “Survivors should be safe in their homes, at their work places, on the street, and online.”
For more information and the full results of this survey, please see our Tech Safety blog.