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New online tools to support women experiencing domestic or family violence

1800RESPECT
07 DEC 2016

1800RESPECT has developed a series of web-based resources to increase the safety of women experiencing domestic or family violence – a digital Escape Bag Checklist and Technology and Safety videos.

The digital Escape Bag Checklist is designed to be used as part of developing a safety plan and enables women to plan essential items to prepare for leaving an unsafe home environment. In addition, five Technology and Safety videos provide practical information on ways to improve safety when using technology.

Minister for Women Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said that there is an increasing number of women experiencing abuse online as perpetrators use new technologies as a way of maintaining power and control over victims.

“Innovative online resources are critical in helping women protect themselves from technology facilitated abuse,” Minister Cash said.

The Escape Bag Checklist contains items that assist someone experiencing domestic or family violence with safety planning including things they may not have considered taking with them. It can be used on a range of digital devices (including laptop or computer, smart phone and tablet) via a password protected personal account. The user may also choose to share the checklist with a friend or family member.

There is a strong use of images to cut through any language or literacy barriers, as well as an instructional video, storyboard and icons to support text in the checklist Minister Cash said the Escape Bag Checklist is a helpful tool when making a safety plan.

“This tool can provide valuable information to those women who make the brave and often difficult decision to leave an abusive relationship,” Minister Cash said.

“The checklist has been designed for use by women from diverse backgrounds including those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds and those with limited accessibility.”

“This is a simple to use, discreet tool that will assist women who are planning to escape unsafe situations,” Minister Cash said.

To create the accessible checklist, 1800RESPECT consulted with key community service providers, including In Touch Multicultural Centre Against Domestic Violence, South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault, LGBTI health promotion service ACON and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

According to the national SmartSafe survey of practitioners working with women facing domestic or family violence, 98 percent said their clients experienced abuse through technology, with text messages most commonly used, followed by Facebook. Almost three in ten said their clients had been tracked using digital technology.

Informed by the SmartSafe report on technology facilitated abuse, the topics for the five Technology and Safety videos are:

  1. privacy and security settings when using social media
  2. turning off location services on digital devices
  3. disabling geotagging of photos
  4. creating and using safer email accounts
  5. increasing device security when remote monitoring has occurred .

“While new technologies can provide a very valuable, flexible link to friends, family and support services for women experiencing domestic or family violence, they can also become a tool for an abuser to harass, control, monitor and humiliate an intimate partner or ex-partner,” Minister Cash said.

“So knowing how to increase safety when using digital technology is critical to ensure we keep women safe from all forms of domestic violence.”

1800RESPECT partnered with specialists in information technology and women’s safety from the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault to produce the Technology and Safety videos.

These resources can be found by downloading the 1 800RESPECT Frontline Workers Toolkit or visiting the website.

For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.

1800RESPECT is the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service. It is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services as part of the Australian Government's commitment to reduce violence under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.

1800RESPECT is a confidential online and telephone counselling, information and referral service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Our services are available to people experiencing the impacts of sexual assault, domestic and family violence, as well as their support networks including family, friends and frontline workers.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit our website. In an emergency, call 000. 

Media contact

Kelli Browne, Director Communications and Marketing, ph: 0418 356 189 or email kelli.browne@medibank.com.au