Recent Australian and International surveys and our own experience in this field, reveal that there is now an almost complete overlap between technology abuse and domestic and family violence. A survey undertaken by the Recharge Project in 2015 shows that 98% of domestic violence practitioners had clients who had experienced technology abuse; the study found that, in Australia, the three most common forms used for abuse were text messaging, Facebook and GPS tracking.
The Safety Net Australia Project
The WESNET Safety Net Australia project was established in 2011 to examine the intersection of technology and Violence Against Women (VAW). WESNET works closely with the US Safety Net Project run by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).
The objectives of the Safety Net Australia project are to:
- Work with communities and agencies to address how ongoing and emerging technology issues impact the safety, privacy and accessibility rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking.
- Educate a wide range of community agencies who work with women experiencing all forms of violence on ways to use technology strategically to help find safety and escape domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, stalking and abuse.
- Advocate for strong local, state, national and international policies that ensure the safety, privacy and rights of all victims and survivors of gender-based violence.
Our project is based on the US-based NNEDV Safety Net Project which provides engaging and interactive trainings, resources and policy assistance in ways that both tech-savvy and non-techie audiences can understand.
Policy and Advice
In 2015, our National Chair, Julie Oberin, was appointed as a member of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children. Julie Oberin was appointed co-chair of the Technology sub-group and co-chaired the Technology Safety Round Tables in late 2015, to specifically provide advice to COAG around technology abuse and violence against women.
WESNET provides technical expertise and advice to a range of Government and other organisations including the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, the newly launched government agency that leads online safety education for the Federal Government.
Training & Resources
Since 2011, WESNET has been delivering technology safety training under sole license from the NNEDV, and has trained in most States and Territories. Our participants include domestic and family violence practitioners, sexual assault crisis services, health professionals, magistrates, police, youth, disability services, alcohol and other drug workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, and many many more.
We send trainers to the USA every year to learn about the latest developments in technology and emerging trends and bring this back to Australia.
If you are interested in attending or hosting training, or making a donation to support our work, please contact us at the National Secretariat.
We also have a wide range of resources and handouts for women experiencing technology-facilitated abuse and those agencies working with them.
Working with communities, agencies and partners
We have also been working closely with other agencies to advise and provide expertise around technology abuse and violence against women. Some of our recent partnerships include working with Telstra on the Safe Connections Project, and with DVRVC and Women’s Legal Service NSW on the Recharge project.