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Is digital technology increasing abuse - new research to look at this issue

Is digital technology increasing abuse - new research to look at this issue

Do we really know about domestic abuse in today’s society?

 The most comprehensive research investigating every aspect of domestic abuse has been launched today. The research project announced by Liverpool John Moores University and the Digital-Trust, CIC will explore physical violence, coercive control and digital abuse within relationships. This ambitious research will gather data from women, men, teens and same-sex relationships. It will give the most comprehensive view yet of domestic abuse, looking at both the victim profiles and the type of treatment they experience. 

  • Is our love of mobiles, social media making it easier for our partners to abuse us?
  • Women are the largest victim group of intimate partner abuse, but how many men experience it?
  • Do same-sex relationships have same levels of intimate partner abuse?
  • Coercive control became an offence on the 29th of December 2015 - what is it? What are the most common means of control? Do victims recognise it?

Importantly, for the first time it will also look at how technology is used in abusive relationships, and in the stalking and harassment that often follows an abusive relationship. Like its role in other crimes, technology enables domestic abuse. “Digital technology makes us available 24/7 - our location, photos, friends are online. Does that amount of information increase obsession and physical violence or make the abuser more persistent? What is the most likely form of digital abuse and can we prevent it? This research will help us understand if our digital lives are changing the nature of domestic abuse” said Jennifer Perry, CEO of the Digital-Trust.

This research is much broader and more encompassing than previous projects. It is identifying how people experience abuse. Jennifer McLaughlin is a lecturer in Forensic Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University; her previous work focused on the relationship between intimate partner abuse and mental health and well-being, including suicide risk. “Last, December the new law on coercive control was introduced covering finance, restriction of movement and emotional control. This research will help to identify what are the most prevalent forms of abuse, if there is a difference between female, male, teens or same sex victims, and whether these different forms of abuse are associated with different mental health and well-being outcomes”.

The objective of the survey is also to help people understand all forms of coercive control. Everyone that fills out the survey will be able to download for free the Digital-Trust’s e-book What is Coercive Control? “

“We shouldn’t be surprised that victims don’t know they’ve been experiencing coercive control, when a law that recognises it has only recently been introduced. Victims of abuse know that what has been happening to them isn’t right, but they don’t always understand that it was domestic abuse and now it’s illegal” said Jennifer Perry. “I wrote this book for all the women and men who experience the digital, psychological, financial, isolating and monitoring forms of coercive control, so they can recognise it and get help.”

New research is vital not only for better provision for victims, it could lead to better support within the criminal justice system and improve safeguards. Ideally, it would be useful to educate and influence social media, apps or mobiles providers so they can help us to reduce the risk of harm.

Victims can participate in a survey knowing that their information is confidential and anonymous. We want victims from all walks of life, women, men, teens, adults from across the UK to participate.

Please publish a link to the survey

www.digital-trust.org/survey

 

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