Technology facilitated abuse in co-parenting communication
It is common for victims of domestic and family violence to be court ordered to co-parent with their ex-partner. Just like separated families who have not experienced domestic or family violence, regular communication with your ex-partner is necessary for co-parenting. Even if visitation has been court ordered to occur on regular days, there are still special occasions and extra-curriculum activities that require both parents to communicate. For a person who has experienced domestic violence, this can be very daunting and possibly expose them to serious risks.
Common tactics used by perpetrators to harass their victim include endless, unnecessary communications that are under the pretence of co-parenting. Using technology to intimidate and exercise coercive control over their victim. For example, using technology to have access to their victim 24 hours a day 7 day a week, which manipulates their victims time, creating a sense of harassment and controlling their victim’s personal space. But the use of mobile phones is only a part of the story. Social media platforms such as Facebook was developed to help people stay in close contact with their friends and loved ones. However, these are also tools abusers can use to stalk not only their victims but the family and friends of the victim.
Also, camera and recording devices put into children’s toys can be used to invade their victim’s personal space. The list of new technology products is extensive and even though the products weren’t designed with the intention for someone to use them abusively. Such technology products also include spyware in everyday house items, computer spyware, computer viruses, drones and cameras.
Never before in history have victims of domestic and family violence been so exposed to ongoing abuse after leaving the relationship than with the unsolicited use of technology-facilitated abuse used against them.
So what are some ways you can protect yourself if you feel you are experiencing technology facilitated abuse?
- Use a safe and secure online communication platform such as Our Children Australia to communicate with your ex-partner. By using such a website, you are protected by their security systems, which in turn protects you from receiving unwanted viruses. Also, everything written on Our Children Australia cannot be deleted or manipulated, this helps to decrease unnecessary conflict.
- Stay on top of your Facebook security settings. Block people that you need to block and make sure that you think twice before posting on Facebook as your safety can be compromised if you constantly publicize your location.
- Check your children’s toys for recording devices if you believe something doesn’t feel quite right. It is better to check and put your mind at ease than to worry yourself about possible recording devises invading your privacy.
If this article has raised any concerns for you, please contact 1800 RESPECT the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling phone service providing 24hour support.