Technology-facilitated abuse: A survey of support services stakeholders
Nationally and internationally, technology-facilitated abuse has garnered increasing policy, program and research attention.
This report presents findings from Stage 1 of a larger national project entitled “Technology-facilitated abuse: Extent, nature and responses in the Australian community”, examining the extent and nature of, and responses to, technology-facilitated abuse (TFA) within the Australian community. Stage 1 aimed to understand, from the perspective of those working in support services, the nature and impacts of TFA, the adequacy of current responses to TFA, and areas for further development in both responses to and prevention of TFA.
In pursuit of this aim, the researchers undertook a national survey of workers in the community services, domestic and family violence, sexual assault, health, family, legal services, specialist diversity services and allied sectors regarding their insights into TFA. The final survey instrument, which included questions on TFA in the context of the Australian bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, received responses from 338 support services workers across Australia.
The research found that in the experience of support services workers, foremost comprising domestic and sexual violence services, TFA is a significant and gendered problem with victims facing significant impacts and barriers to help-seeking. Support service workers identified significant obstacles to helping clients who are experiencing TFA, including difficulty in finding up-to-date information, TFA not being taken seriously by police and courts, and inadequate responses from technology providers. During the pandemic and the bushfires, the research showed perpetrators used technology to abuse victims in different ways. Victims who had experienced TFA had to access support through technology, despite associating technology with feeling unsafe.
This work is part of the ANROWS Research reports series. ANROWS Research reports are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.
DR ASHER FLYNN
Associate Professor, Criminology, Monash University
DR ANASTASIA POWELL
Associate Professor, Criminology, RMIT University
Research Assistant, Criminology, Monash University
ISBN: 978-1-922645-02-9 (print) | 978-1-922645-03-6 (online)
Flynn, A., Powell, A., & Hindes, S. (2021). Technology-facilitated abuse: A survey of support services stakeholders (Research report, 02/2021). ANROWS.