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Technology, Domestic Violence and the Law..The Y Investigates

The use of information communication technologies (ICT) to facilitate violence in intimate partner relationships has emerged as a serious issue in Australia.

Perpetrators utilise commonly used technology to enhance ‘coercive control’- isolating, trapping and humiliating victims through email, phone calls, social media and GPS tracking. These incidents can vary wildly from conventional methods like texts and emails to image based violence (commonly referred to as “revenge porn”) or the use of online banking technology.

For instance, perpetrators were reported to use new online banking technologies to view the EFTPOS transactions that a victim would make to monitor their location based on the purchase or ATM withdrawal details. Another case involved a perpetrator repetitively depositing minor payments into a victims account and using the short payment description to write insults to the victim.

This growing and troublesome issue has been identified through a series of studies conducted by sector organisations and the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Legislative and policy responses to ICT-related violence are currently not as comprehensive as they should be. In addition, law enforcement strategies require more training and resources to effectively minimise ICT-related incidents.

Fortunately for the Y, one of our brilliant volunteers, Naomi Sheridan, has put together a comprehensive report investigating ICT facilitated violence. The paper, titled “Technology-Facilitated Domestic Violence: An Analysis of Victorian Legal and Political Responses” investigates the current challenges faced by policy, legislation and law enforcement in addressing ICT assisted intimate partner violence here in Victoria.

Read the report here.