Understanding Technology in Combating Domestic Violence and Abuse

Daria Nepriakhina at Unsplash.com

There have been numerous reports of women getting attacked by their partners – and we are not even talking about the physical stuff now. In this case, it is more of a virtual attack perpetrated by the use of technology. 

The amazing thing is that technology can be a two-edged sword, and victims of abuse will be better off knowing how it works if they are to escape the constant surveillance and attacks from their abusers.

To that end, we will explore the roles technology can play in domestic violence on both sides of the case.

Your Partner Always Knows Where You Are?

Many women have often complained of having their partners turning up on them when they have least expected. This is usually a case where they have not informed such a partner of where they are – yet they seem to always be informed of their movements. 

Some of the options to explore in this case are:

  • Checking your phone’s location settings to see if you are sharing your location information with anyone. It would be better to turn off your location settings altogether and leave that for when you truly do need them. Likewise, scan your phone for unfamiliar apps that your partner could have installed on your phone to access your location data from anywhere.
  • Checking your car’s GPS system is also important. You want to make sure the GPS has neither been bugged or tapped in any way. If you are not that tech savvy, bringing in an expert to do a bug sweep for you makes sense.
  • Checking your phone and other devices for bugs too. This is because your partner might not necessarily be following your location updates or tracking you with an app. See if your phone has visible signs of entry, especially at the joints where its frame was coupled. See if there are missing or loose screws too. To be very sure, you can have your phone scanned for bugs by an expert.
  • Resetting your phone to factory settings is a safe bet in extreme conditions. If you have an Android device, you might want to flash the unit with the custom ROM to make sure all is safe too.

Your Partner Always Knows What You Are Doing?

Technology has made it possible for us to stay connected with happenings in different parts of the world – and also in the loop with a lot of happenings elsewhere. However, this can be used to your disadvantage if you are not careful. 

That is why it always seems like your partner always knows what you are doing. It gets worse when you leave the relationship but haven’t already addressed the possible leaks of how they could be snooping on you.

Here, we recommend:

  • Setting unique passwords for your smart devices. Connected devices on your Internet of Things network could have made it easier to sync every of your devices to one another, but it also means data is being shared on the same network – and your partner might just be using that network against you.
  • Resetting microphones and cameras around the house if you have gotten out of such relationships
  • Resetting the motion sensors, light sensors and such other sensitive items that could always give off what room you are in or what you’re doing.

You Get Unwanted Contact?

The occurrences above happen fairly well, but not as much as unwanted contact. 

Domestic abuse victims can still be contacted via channels such as emails, messages and phone calls. The misuse of technology this way can cause even deeper psychological scars than the ones incurred when the victim was with their abuser. 

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to go on for long since you can do something about it:

  • In the case of messages, we advise taking screenshots before taking any further actions. That will help you make a strong case should you want to purse legal channels against your abuser. After taking these screenshots, do well to block the contact’s email addresses so that they can’t reach you anymore.
  • The same goes for calls. Blocking the abuser’s phone number or putting them on a blacklist will prevent their calls from coming into your device.
  • In extreme cases, we advise changing your contact details so that the abuser does not have any chance of reaching you through new numbers of their own since you have blocked the old ones.

Harmful Stuff Posted on Social Media

Perhaps the most publicly damaging approach to using tech as an oppression tool is posting derogatory stuff about the victim on social media. This can range from sharing intimate conversations and pictures with the victim to downright shaming them on social media. 

No matter which of this it is, there are a series of things you can do about it:

  • Contact the social media support channels to bring down such content about you.
  • Take a screenshot of the messages posted about you and report them to local authorities for defamation of character, among other things.
  • Speak to your lawyer on how best to handle the situation
  • Change your social media account to private, so that only approved followers can see your updates and interact with you.

Seek Professional Help Too

While a good knowledge of technology will help keep you safe from attacks perpetrated with this tool, that is not the cure. In fact, knowing how to keep yourself safe with tech is just a cog in the entire wheel. 

Reach out to family and friends to let them know what is happening. Also, ensure the right authorities are notified so appropriate action can be taken. Never leave things to chance – and never assume it just goes away or gets better on its own.

As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Much better to be safe.

This article was a guest post written by Jack Warner of TechWarn.com.

Jack Warner
Jack Warner

Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on topics such as whistleblowing and cybersecurity tools.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.