Technological and Cyber Abuse:
This type of abuse encompasses the following:
- Abusive messages or calls
- Someone taking over your online accounts or locking you out of them
- Being sent (or being threatened with) abusive and/or inappropriate images or having intimate images sent without consent
- Fake social media accounts that are created for the sole purpose of stalking, harassing, threatening or abusing someone
- Being tracked through a phone or other device and using tracking techniques and spy-ware to track where you are
What are the warning signs?
- Seems to know when you are online/what you are doing online when they normally don’t have access to this type of information
- Seems to know where your children are or turns up unexpectedly to the place you are at
- Has access to your phone or computer and requests passwords and pin numbers
- Constantly checking social media activity and call logs
- Taking control of your devices when you try to access them
- Send unwanted texts or calls that abusive or silent
- Posts defamatory comments about you online to humiliate you or start rumours
- Constantly sending you messages about where you are, what you are doing and who you are with
- Starts contacting family and friends to check on you or to spread damaging information about you
- Pressuring you to send intimate photos or threatening to share these photos without your consent
- Controlling finances by restricting bank access and access to online accounts
- Setting up a new camera or security system that seems unnecessary
Questions to ask yourself:
- Have my passwords stopped working?
- Have any of my online accounts suddenly become restricted?
- Have my children been given new electronic gifts by my partner/ex-partner that they seem insistent on them using?
- Am I receiving abuse emails, texts, etc. from strange or anonymous senders?
- Have I found a fake social media account set up in my name?
- Have I found evidence of unusual activity in my email account?
- Have my devices slowed down or stopped working properly?
- Are there unknown financial transactions in my bank account?
- Have the lights, locks, air conditioning, television, fridge, internet, music systems, etc. been unexpectedly turning off, slowing down or not working properly?
What can I do if I am experiencing technological or cyber abuse or think I am at risk of abuse?
- Set strong passwords and change them frequently
- Turn off location services
- Set up new accounts and reset your device to its original factory settings
- Be aware of your privacy when posting online (e.g. don’t post information that might give away your whereabouts or any personal information)
- Use social media accounts safely (i.e. block people you don’t know/people who are abusive, set your accounts to the highest privacy/security levels)
- Double check the apps on your device and delete any apps that you did not download yourself
- Be careful about opening attachments in emails and messages in case they contain malware or scams
- If you are worried that your computer at home is not safe enough, use a computer elsewhere (e.g. public library, at the home of a trusted friend)
- Trust your instincts when/if you feel that something is not right
For more information, go to: https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/domestic-family-violence/technology-facilitated-abuse