“Technology must be safer” warns stalking and domestic violence charities

Family Law Week

Women’s Aid launches practical guide for victims of stalking

National domestic violence charity Women's Aid and national stalking charity Network for Surviving Stalking are together launching a practical guide for victims of stalking. 'Digital stalking: a guide to technology risks for victims' is an important resource for all stalking victims, including the many survivors of domestic violence who are being stalked by an ex-partner. It explains the wide range of technological risks for those being stalked, including use of Spyware on personal computers, tracking devices on mobile phones and tracking of information through social networking sites.

With over 18% of women and 9% of men experiencing stalking since the age of 16, stalking affects a wide range of people. However, stalking by ex-partners accounts for the largest group of victims and women are most at risk from physical assault and fatal harm. 

The guidelines, which are funded by the Nominet Trust and Avon Cosmetics, contain practical advice on how to reduce the risk of being stalked online. They can also be used for training organisations which deal with stalking and domestic violence cases, including the police and other key agencies.

Author of the report and cyber-stalking expert Jennifer Perry said:

"Geo-location services that use GPS are the perfect tool for a stalker. Once he has access to a victim's phone or computer he can watch, listen and follow her wherever she goes – these products are also extremely cheap to buy."

Women's Aid Chief Executive, Nicola Harwin CBE, said:

"Stalking is a frequent aspect of domestic violence, and it is frightening how easy it can be to do this through technology. Getting access to a partner's phone or computer, and installing applications without their knowledge, can happen quickly and provide the abuser with substantial information. This guide provides important information that can help increase safety. If an abuser can track his ex-partner, even after she has left the relationship, she will be at increased risk of violence."

Jennifer meets the Prime Minister

Info4 Security: Home Office "Online stalking victims must be protected"