Network for Surviving Stalking launches guidelines to combat digital stalking
To combat the growing problem of anti-social behaviour and harassment online, Network for Surviving Stalking, a project funded by social investor Nominet Trust, has launched a new version of the highly regarded ‘Digital Stalking; a Guide to Technology Risks.’ The free online tool will aim to protect the 1/5 women and 1/10 men that will be stalked during their lifetime.
The new version focuses on risks associated with smartphones. With 60% of the UK population aged between 16 and 34 now owning a smart phone, and with new technological advances constantly being launched, the guide is released at a time when potential victims are susceptible to new forms of stalking.
Digital Stalking; a Guide to Technology Risks will provide professionals working in the space, from police, community safety officers, domestic violence experts and charities, with up to date information on the technology being used against victims, how it works, the risks and step by step advice on how victims can deal with these issues.
For instance, ex-partners often know, or can guess their victim’s passwords for their iPhone or Google account associated with a phone. Once in the account, stalkers can see the exact location of the phone, lock the device, delete contacts, download apps and see photos or text messages that were synced. The guide will provide specialist knowledge that isn’t currently available for most professionals on how to avoid these problems.
Key topics in the guide include:
- Mobile phones
- Social Networks
- Hacked/account Takeovers
- Specific advice for survivors of domestic violence
Jennifer Perry, cyberstalking spokesperson for the Network for Surviving Stalking (NSS) said:
“Antisocial behaviour and harassment online is increasing substantially and because technology is constantly advancing, keeping up to speed with new harassment methods can be a challenge for those working with and supporting victims. Professionals need user friendly information for victims that will help them reduce impact and increase safety - this is exactly what this guide provides. ”
Service user Karen Evans, Hampshire Police Chair at the N E Hants Domestic Violence Forum in Aldershot said: “Abuse via technology is a new yet growing problem. This guide has given us a much better understanding of how abusers are accessing information about victims and how to help them - information which is imperative for high risk clients. We would advise professionals working in the space to download and start using the information like we have.”
Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust said: “It is impossible to deny that technological advances in the smartphone industry have transformed the way we communicate and access information but it’s crucial that people remain vigilant and aware of the risks too.
Nominet Trust is committed to supporting projects which ensure that digital technologies make a positive social difference. The development of these guidelines will provide professionals with an important tool to tackle the growing problem of digital stalking, and ultimately protect victims, which is why we have supported the development of this valuable resource.”
The original Digital Stalking; A Guide to Technology Risks was launched with Women’s Aid February 2012. These have been downloaded over 4,500 times. Nicki Norman, Deputy Chief Executive of Women's Aid said: "Women's Aid was proud to launch 'Digital Stalking: a guide to technology risks for victims' with the Network for Surviving Stalking earlier this year, as we know that stalking is a frequent part of domestic violence and the guide provided a practical resource for those affected. Without vital information on protecting yourself from the risks, abusive current or ex-partners can quickly install applications on phones or computers, and access substantial information about your life, which is a significant safety risk."
The guide can be downloaded free of charge from www.digital-stalking.com
Notes to the editor:
- The original guidelines and factsheets have been downloaded over 4,500 times since Feb 2012
- 1 out 5 women and 1 in 10 men will be stalked during their lifetime (British Crime Survey)
- 66% of those aged 16 to 24,and 60% of those aged 25 to 34 have a smartphone, compared to 2% of those aged 65 and over (OFCOM 2012).
Network for Surviving Stalking
Network for Surviving Stalking is a UK charity that campaigns to improve the rights of stalking victims. NSS is one of three charities that established the National Stalking Helpline. www.nssadvice.org.uk
About Nominet Trust
Nominet Trust is a UK registered charity, which believes in the power of the internet to improve lives and communities. Nominet Trust brings together, invests in and supports people committed to using the internet to create social and economic value.
Nominet Trust has invested in hundreds of projects since its inception in September 2008, providing business support as well as financial investment, seeking to connect projects to prospective partners who can help increase their reach and impact.
Nominet Trust was founded in 2008 by Nominet, the not-for-profit organisation responsible for the smooth and secure running of the .uk internet infrastructure. Nominet has a strong public purpose and the Trust is one example of its commitment to creating a safer, accessible and diverse internet.
For further information or comment, please contact:
Network for Surviving Stalking , Jennifer Perry, author of guidelines,
Telephone: 07913 745 131
Munro & Forster, Alice Guttmann, Senior Account Executive
Telephone: 020 7815 3960