Crimes which involve the use of the internet, social media and other forms of technology to humiliate, control and threaten women have always been a prominent issue within society. For many women who are victims of domestic violence, the technology they use everyday can serve as yet another medium of abuse.
A survey conducted by the Domestic Violence Resource Centre of Victoria found 98 per cent of domestic violence victims also experienced technology-facilitated abuse.
The ubiquity of mobile technology in particular, can allow perpetrators to stalk their victims, constantly harass and contact them, whether it be through text messages, emails, social media platforms, apps, spyware or GPS tracking software. New media technological developments have essentially created a new landscape for controlling, sexually motivated or other forms of interpersonal offending.
As a repercussion, human rights violations can now exist in a multitude of forms and what constitutes as domestic violence is forever changing. Due to the difficulty in identifying perpetrators online, progressive government action and legislative change in dealing with such crimes therefore often remains a step behind.
Whilst cyber enabled crimes are more often reported to be experienced by women, it is important to acknowledge that men are also victims. A recent article by The Guardian (2014) described a former NSA officer and conservative pundit John Schindler reportedly placed on leave from his professorship when he became a victim of revenge porn.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) to speak with a trained counsellor from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Counselling Service.