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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

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RESEARCH REPORT

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.

 

Publication details

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.


Authors

DR ASHER FLYNN
Associate Professor, Criminology, Monash University

DR ANASTASIA POWELL
Associate Professor, Criminology, RMIT University

SOPHIE HINDES
Research Assistant, Criminology, Monash University


 

ISBN: 978-1-922645-02-9 (print) | 978-1-922645-03-6 (online)

53 pp.

 

Suggested citation

Flynn, A., Powell, A., & Hindes, S. (2021). Technology-facilitated abuse: A survey of support services stakeholders (Research report, 02/2021). ANROWS.

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