Online safety is a growing concern for many Americans. According to this NTIA study, it’s so prevalent that many people stop engaging in online activities altogether. As technology becomes necessary in our lives, there’s become an increased awareness of privacy regarding domestic abuse victims, but these following tech examples have made a positive impact.
Resources, Apps, and Hotlines Become Easily Accessible
The emotional and psychological toll domestic abuse takes on a person is enough for them to not reach out for help out of fear of their abuser. At the same time, many victims may not have the resources to hire a lawyer, a psychiatrist, or a police officer, even when they can seek help.
Thankfully, there are plenty of online resources that can aid survivors by providing state-specific legal information quickly and without drawing suspicion. Womenslaw.org, apps like SafeNight, and this large collection of resources available on NNEDV can help victims still undergoing abuse stay safe while building their case. If it’s safe to do so, call 1-800-799-7233 or 911.
Domestic Violence Software Helps Victim Service Providers
Victim service providers are excluded from using HMIS software, but there are Comparable Database solutions that can help domestic violence survivors without breaching privacy.
Domestic violence counselors, therapists, and psychologists can use victim services software to provide victim services in a safe, secure environment. An easy-to-use software can help workers quickly report domestic violence, gather data on victims who are experiencing homelessness and try to help those experiencing abuse a safe way to exit their situation.
Survivors Can Use Social Media to Provide a Voice for Victims
Once some domestic abuse victims feel safe to do so, they may share their story on social media platforms to build awareness on how prevalent this issue has become. No one is ever obligated to share their story, but if you wish to connect with other victims of domestic abuse without speaking on behalf of yourself, these communities can be helpful for you and others.
Through a Google Search, Victims Can Find Other Survivors
Going through a domestic violence situation can make victims feel lonely, scary, and hopeless, but technology can help connect them to other survivors. Through online support groups, message boards, and chat rooms, survivors can connect with people who’ve gone through a similar situation. These safe spaces give victims the chance to air their feelings and frustrations.
Programs like YesICAN and After SIlence help sexual, verbal, and physical assault survivors help through human connection and a mutually supportive environment. In the After Silence support group, victims can share their story without publicly identifying themselves.
Online Abuse Can be Saved as Digital Evidence for Court
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse in an online environment, you’ll have substantial evidence for the court once you feel safe enough to come forward. Photos, text messages, emails, public or private social media posts, and voicemail can all be taken in as evidence, even if the abuse occurred away from a public area. Anything said online is submittable and legal.
Keep in mind that your saved evidence may be accessible to others. Techsafety.org can help abuse victims categorize all documentation without making it available to the public or hackable.
Some U.S. States Make it Easier to Report Abuse Online
A few state courts in the United States (like New York) have set up systems that offer protection to abuse victims over the Internet. New York specifically passed legislation that allows victims to file a petition for a temporary order of protection, which can help in incredibly violent situations. Depending on a person’s situation, a judge may allow a victim to use their phone for audio and visual evidence without them having to be physically present in a courthouse.