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Technology increasingly used by abusive partners to monitor women

Young women are increasingly being monitored by controlling and abusive partners through text messages or social networking sites like Facebook, according to a leading women’s charity.

Social media is being used to monitor and control women, says Women's Aid.
Social media is being used to monitor and control women, says Women's Aid.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

TECHNOLOGY SUCH AS mobile phones and social media are increasingly being used to monitor and control women, particularly those aged between 18 and 25, according to the group Women’s Aid.

The group said that more than 10,000 women called its helpline last year seeking help for abuse taking place within their relationships. Hits to the charity’s website also rose by 52 per cent, with 48,000 visitors reached for 2010.

Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin explained how women were being monitored and harassed through the use of technology: “Women disclosed how they are bombarded with texts and calls often telling them, in explicit detail, how they will be attacked or even killed. Some women disclosed that their current or ex-boyfriends were stalking them on social networking sites.”

Some victims say that they have been bombarded with up to 100 text messages a day from partners – a situation which the charity said gives the woman still involved in an abusive relationship no opportunity to think calmly about her circumstances.

Younger women are particularly vulnerable to being harassed via technology: “There is a common misconception that violence and abuse only occurs in older and more established relationships,” said Martin, “But in a national survey on domestic violence, almost 60 per cent of those who had experienced severe abuse in intimate relationships first experienced it when they were under the age of 25″.

She added: “More chilling data from resolved homicide cases show that, of the 39 women aged between 18 and 25 years who were killed since 1996, 53 per cent were murdered by a boyfriend or former boyfriend.”

Women’s Aid has urged women who feel that their partner is too possesive and controlling to look at the Women’s Aid 2in2u National Public Awareness Campaign, which explores the issue of violence and abuse against young women in dating relationships.

The Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline: 1800 341 900 (open from 10am to 10pm)

More information: Women’s Aid Annual Statistic Report 2011 >

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