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    The Alarming Spread: The Impact of COVID-19 on Family Violence

    6/07/20 11:36 AM

    The COVID-19 pandemic has instigated major change globally but perhaps the most pervasive transformation to everyday life has been the society-wide lockdowns, meaning more people are at home far more often than usual. Unfortunately, these stay-at-home measures have detrimentally impacted those in situations of family violence, with the perpetrator being home all day and the person experiencing family violence having their escape or any options to seek help severely diminished, if not extinguished entirely. This restriction of movement has already been shown to make violence in homes more frequent and more severe.

    Our next couple of blog posts will focus on strategies to formulate and execute a safety plan, and also protect yourself or the children during a situation like this.

    However, the focus of this post is to explore some tips for minimising the risk of technology-facilitated abuse, which is a form of controlling behaviour that involves the use of technology by someone to coerce or stalk another person.

    If you are experiencing family violence, consider the following tips to help you continue using your devices safely:

    1. Use another device if you think the perpetrator of family violence can get past your security settings – this may be a friend’s or neighbour’s device.
    2. Set up a new email account with a different password than you usually use.
    3. Change the passwords on all your devices, accounts and emails to something you think the perpetrator will not easily guess – avoid using important dates or people’s names.
    4. Try to set up a different password for each device or account. This means that, if the perpetrator succeeds in accessing one of your accounts, they will not automatically be able to access all of them.
    5. If you suspect your device has spyware on it, avoid using that device, particularly when communicating with someone about the family violence you are experiencing.
    6. When browsing the internet, use the private browsing mode if looking for information about getting help or escaping your situation.
    7. Disable location services on all the devices and platforms you use, including social media accounts. This includes asking family or friends to avoid tagging you on Facebook posts as this might alert the perpetrator to your location. You may also wish to turn Bluetooth off, as it could be used to track your location.

    Only consider implementing the above if you are sure that they won’t increase your risk of violence or abuse.

    If you would like to talk to someone about the legal implications of separation or what your next steps are, please contact us at frank@franklaw.com.au 

    This is not legal advice. 

    Photo by Adrienn from Pexels

    Karla Elias

    Written by Karla Elias