Innovative uses of technology

Roundtable outcomes

The Summit roundtables identified a number of key insights and suggested actions, summarised below.

Key insights identified by roundtable participants

  • Advances in technology should be used to enhance data sharing and integration across agencies and jurisdictions. This would enhance service delivery and avoid women having to tell their story multiple times.

  • Workforce capacity around technology in the women’s safety sector needs to be strengthened in order to increase understanding and trust of new technology.

  • Many jurisdictions are piloting initiatives and there should be a way to bring them together to establish best practice. Existing initiatives should be evaluated and mapped in a way that can be shared across organisations.

  • Technology should be used to monitor perpetrators’ behaviour.

  • We need to engage businesses, including information and communication technology companies, as part of the solution.

  • A group of experts across a range of industries could be established to map existing initiatives, with a view to building on these and avoiding duplication across jurisdictions.

A number of contributions to the online roundtables have also been received. Those contributions are still being reviewed but some of the main themes and ideas highlighted include:

  • GPS tracking technology provides many opportunities to improve holding perpetrators to account.
  • Principles should be followed when developing apps which claim to assist survivors, including accurate descriptions of the product and around safety and privacy issues.

  • Apps have been developed to support safe communication and information sharing between post-separation parents.

  • Video link services can help to overcome the trauma associated with victims attending court and the difficulties of women in regional and remote areas accessing services.

  • Apps for use on tablets can provide enhanced accessibility to services and information for people with disability.

  • Confidential online reporting tools can assist with report taking and connecting women with services. Digital collection of information also provides the opportunity to better share information across agencies and jurisdictions.



Discussion paper authored by South Australia in preparation for COAG National Summit



Background


Technology has become a part of our daily lives providing information and communication through devices such as smartphones, computers and tablets. However, while technology can assist women’s safety by providing access to information and critical services it can also be used as a tool to perpetrate violence against women, such as stalking and sharing demeaning images of women.


There are significant opportunities to harness the possibilities of technology in ways that work to prevent violence, educate the community, and support women as part of their safety planning.
Technology connects, prompts people to act and facilitates change – the theme of this Summit. This roundtable will explore how we can use technology innovatively - how it can be used to better and more safely connect members of the community (such as women and services); assist people to act by providing them with the knowledge and skills to do so; and influence societal change by shaping attitudes and dispersing current, accurate information throughout the community.


This roundtable discussion will focus on using technology to help prevent violence and support women and engaging technology companies to become involved in this process. The discussion will also explore the role of technology companies and social media groups in creating a safer online environment.


Examples


D3 Digital Challenge – South Australia


In response to the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children preliminary advice, including a recommendation that COAG ‘consider trailing innovative uses of technology to keep women safe, prevent perpetrators from reoffending and better inform women about the risks of technology’[1], the South Australian Government held a D3 Digital Challenge. D3 Challenges bring together digital entrepreneurs in the community to collaborate with government to produce solutions to social issues. The D3 Challenge - ‘Keeping Women Safe’ resulted in two projects being supported to further develop their winning prototypes. One was an app designed for use by concerned third parties to provide them with a way to record incidents of violence and for women to track patterns of abuse. The second was a team of high school students who are producing a game for electronic devices aimed at young people in which players navigate social situations and make gains or losses depending on their choices. The aim is to challenge gendered stereotypes and assumptions, as these are the bedrock of gender inequality which is a major driver of violence against women.


Telstra Safe Connections program


The Telstra Safe Connections program was expanded in March 2016 to provide up to 20,000 safe phones and training through WESNET for women experiencing domestic violence. This initiative seeks to provide these women with a safe way to stay in touch with family and friends, as well as seek assistance from services. Part of this initiative is to empower women with education and information on how smartphones can be used to monitor, stalk and harass individuals.


eSafety for Women


Earlier this year the eSafety Commissioner launched the eSafetyWomen site providing information for women on how to protect their information on personal devices, and how to protect themselves at home and online through their technology. The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner and WESNET are also providing training to frontline services on how to identify technology abuse.


Safe in the Home programs


Funding has been allocated to expand successful initiatives like the Safe in the Home program to provide new forms of technology, including CCTV safety equipment, to help keep women safe in their own homes from repeated violence by their former partner. This will help boost existing Safe in the Home programs being delivered by the states and territories.


Websites


Various websites have been developed to provide central points for women to share their experiences, such as Not The Only One hosted by the University of Melbourne and the Everyday Sexism Project. I-DECIDE is a website hosting a project titled the Women’s Wellbeing Project through which women can take stock of and reflect on the health of their relationship.


Additionally, websites like 1800RESPECT and similar state-based services, are used as an information and resources portal for victims and their family and friends.


Apps


A number of apps have been developed specifically focused on assisting women experiencing violence. These include: Daisy and iMatter.


Statistics


The UN Women cyber violence report[2] stated that:



  • in 1995 less than 1% of the women in the world were connected to the internet. Now, that figure stands at 40%. However, women are still around 25% less likely to have access to the internet than men
  • 73% of women have been abused online and are 27 times more likely to be abused online than men
  • women aged 18-24 are at heightened risk of cyberviolence.



Joint initiative by Women’s legal Service NSW, WESNET and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria called ReCharge: Women’s Technology Safety, Legal Resources, Research and Training report[3] revealed that:



  • 98% of practitioners stated that they had clients who had experienced technology-facilitated stalking and abuse
  • practitioners reported that the most common type of technology used by perpetrators was text messaging, followed by Facebook and GPS tracking apps
  • groups perceived as most at risk in this study were women from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, women with disability, and Aboriginal women.





[1] Lay K 2013, Address by Chair of the Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children, https://www.dpmc.gov.au/resource-centre/office-women/address-chair-advisory-panel-reducing-violence-against-women-and-their-children-23-july-2013

[2] United Nations Broadband Commission 2015, Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A World-Wide Wake-Up Call, http://www.unwomen.org/~/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2015/cyber_violence_gender%20report.pdf?v=1&d=20150924T154259

[3] Women’s Legal Service NSW, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, and WESNET 2015, ReCharge: Women’s Technology Safety, Legal Resources, Research & Training, http://www.smartsafe.org.au/sites/default/files/ReCharge-Womens-Technology-Safety-Report-2015.pdf




Discussion questions


  • Are there other ways that technology could be used to prevent violence and support women? What are the issues that we need to consider?
  • How can services partner with technology companies? How can we use social capital or initiatives such as social bonds to encourage technology companies to become involved? How do we harness their interest not just from a profit making stance?
  • What is the role of technology companies or social media groups such as Facebook to make it harder for perpetrators to use technology to facilitate their violent behaviour?





Contribute to the online roundtable discussion about using technology in an innovative way


We want to hear your thoughts and ideas about how organisations can use technology to address violence against women.


You can submit your ideas using the form below. For more information please see the About the Summit page or About online roundtables.

Roundtable outcomes

The Summit roundtables identified a number of key insights and suggested actions, summarised below.

Key insights identified by roundtable participants

  • Advances in technology should be used to enhance data sharing and integration across agencies and jurisdictions. This would enhance service delivery and avoid women having to tell their story multiple times.

  • Workforce capacity around technology in the women’s safety sector needs to be strengthened in order to increase understanding and trust of new technology.

  • Many jurisdictions are piloting initiatives and there should be a way to bring them together to establish best practice. Existing initiatives should be evaluated and mapped in a way that can be shared across organisations.

  • Technology should be used to monitor perpetrators’ behaviour.

  • We need to engage businesses, including information and communication technology companies, as part of the solution.

  • A group of experts across a range of industries could be established to map existing initiatives, with a view to building on these and avoiding duplication across jurisdictions.

A number of contributions to the online roundtables have also been received. Those contributions are still being reviewed but some of the main themes and ideas highlighted include:

  • GPS tracking technology provides many opportunities to improve holding perpetrators to account.
  • Principles should be followed when developing apps which claim to assist survivors, including accurate descriptions of the product and around safety and privacy issues.

  • Apps have been developed to support safe communication and information sharing between post-separation parents.

  • Video link services can help to overcome the trauma associated with victims attending court and the difficulties of women in regional and remote areas accessing services.

  • Apps for use on tablets can provide enhanced accessibility to services and information for people with disability.

  • Confidential online reporting tools can assist with report taking and connecting women with services. Digital collection of information also provides the opportunity to better share information across agencies and jurisdictions.



Discussion paper authored by South Australia in preparation for COAG National Summit



Background


Technology has become a part of our daily lives providing information and communication through devices such as smartphones, computers and tablets. However, while technology can assist women’s safety by providing access to information and critical services it can also be used as a tool to perpetrate violence against women, such as stalking and sharing demeaning images of women.


There are significant opportunities to harness the possibilities of technology in ways that work to prevent violence, educate the community, and support women as part of their safety planning.
Technology connects, prompts people to act and facilitates change – the theme of this Summit. This roundtable will explore how we can use technology innovatively - how it can be used to better and more safely connect members of the community (such as women and services); assist people to act by providing them with the knowledge and skills to do so; and influence societal change by shaping attitudes and dispersing current, accurate information throughout the community.


This roundtable discussion will focus on using technology to help prevent violence and support women and engaging technology companies to become involved in this process. The discussion will also explore the role of technology companies and social media groups in creating a safer online environment.


Examples


D3 Digital Challenge – South Australia


In response to the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children preliminary advice, including a recommendation that COAG ‘consider trailing innovative uses of technology to keep women safe, prevent perpetrators from reoffending and better inform women about the risks of technology’[1], the South Australian Government held a D3 Digital Challenge. D3 Challenges bring together digital entrepreneurs in the community to collaborate with government to produce solutions to social issues. The D3 Challenge - ‘Keeping Women Safe’ resulted in two projects being supported to further develop their winning prototypes. One was an app designed for use by concerned third parties to provide them with a way to record incidents of violence and for women to track patterns of abuse. The second was a team of high school students who are producing a game for electronic devices aimed at young people in which players navigate social situations and make gains or losses depending on their choices. The aim is to challenge gendered stereotypes and assumptions, as these are the bedrock of gender inequality which is a major driver of violence against women.


Telstra Safe Connections program


The Telstra Safe Connections program was expanded in March 2016 to provide up to 20,000 safe phones and training through WESNET for women experiencing domestic violence. This initiative seeks to provide these women with a safe way to stay in touch with family and friends, as well as seek assistance from services. Part of this initiative is to empower women with education and information on how smartphones can be used to monitor, stalk and harass individuals.


eSafety for Women


Earlier this year the eSafety Commissioner launched the eSafetyWomen site providing information for women on how to protect their information on personal devices, and how to protect themselves at home and online through their technology. The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner and WESNET are also providing training to frontline services on how to identify technology abuse.


Safe in the Home programs


Funding has been allocated to expand successful initiatives like the Safe in the Home program to provide new forms of technology, including CCTV safety equipment, to help keep women safe in their own homes from repeated violence by their former partner. This will help boost existing Safe in the Home programs being delivered by the states and territories.


Websites


Various websites have been developed to provide central points for women to share their experiences, such as Not The Only One hosted by the University of Melbourne and the Everyday Sexism Project. I-DECIDE is a website hosting a project titled the Women’s Wellbeing Project through which women can take stock of and reflect on the health of their relationship.


Additionally, websites like 1800RESPECT and similar state-based services, are used as an information and resources portal for victims and their family and friends.


Apps


A number of apps have been developed specifically focused on assisting women experiencing violence. These include: Daisy and iMatter.


Statistics


The UN Women cyber violence report[2] stated that:



  • in 1995 less than 1% of the women in the world were connected to the internet. Now, that figure stands at 40%. However, women are still around 25% less likely to have access to the internet than men
  • 73% of women have been abused online and are 27 times more likely to be abused online than men
  • women aged 18-24 are at heightened risk of cyberviolence.



Joint initiative by Women’s legal Service NSW, WESNET and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria called ReCharge: Women’s Technology Safety, Legal Resources, Research and Training report[3] revealed that:



  • 98% of practitioners stated that they had clients who had experienced technology-facilitated stalking and abuse
  • practitioners reported that the most common type of technology used by perpetrators was text messaging, followed by Facebook and GPS tracking apps
  • groups perceived as most at risk in this study were women from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, women with disability, and Aboriginal women.





[1] Lay K 2013, Address by Chair of the Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children, https://www.dpmc.gov.au/resource-centre/office-women/address-chair-advisory-panel-reducing-violence-against-women-and-their-children-23-july-2013

[2] United Nations Broadband Commission 2015, Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A World-Wide Wake-Up Call, http://www.unwomen.org/~/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2015/cyber_violence_gender%20report.pdf?v=1&d=20150924T154259

[3] Women’s Legal Service NSW, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, and WESNET 2015, ReCharge: Women’s Technology Safety, Legal Resources, Research & Training, http://www.smartsafe.org.au/sites/default/files/ReCharge-Womens-Technology-Safety-Report-2015.pdf




Discussion questions


  • Are there other ways that technology could be used to prevent violence and support women? What are the issues that we need to consider?
  • How can services partner with technology companies? How can we use social capital or initiatives such as social bonds to encourage technology companies to become involved? How do we harness their interest not just from a profit making stance?
  • What is the role of technology companies or social media groups such as Facebook to make it harder for perpetrators to use technology to facilitate their violent behaviour?





Contribute to the online roundtable discussion about using technology in an innovative way


We want to hear your thoughts and ideas about how organisations can use technology to address violence against women.


You can submit your ideas using the form below. For more information please see the About the Summit page or About online roundtables.

  • Share your views

    Please limit your submission to 300 words. You are also welcome to upload videos or sound recordings.

    Your views may be presented to Summit participants in summary, in part or in full. They may also be used in any publication produced by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, or the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet following the Summit.

    Please limit your submission to 300 words. You are also welcome to upload videos or sound recordings.

    Your views may be presented to Summit participants in summary, in part or in full. They may also be used in any publication produced by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, or the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet following the Summit.

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