Technology facilitated abuse

This kind of abuse can range from online bullying between people, who may currently be in a relationship, to criminal behaviour such as stalking.

What is technology facilitated abuse?

This is where someone harasses, threatens, monitors or impersonates another person via the continuous use of technology. This kind of abuse may occur between strangers. Most often alongside other types of abuse in domestic and family violence contexts. Technology is not the problem. The perpetrator/ abuser’s behaviour is problematic.

Signs of technology-facilitated abuse:

  • Harassment: leaving constant phone messages, texts, emails and social media comments
  • Stalking: tracking a person’s whereabouts using mobile phone apps. Tracking via online banking, hacking into a person’s accounts (social media, bank accounts, emails)
  • Impersonation: posting false information about someone online, pretending to be someone else to watch a person
  • Threats: threatening to share intimate photos, messages (image-based abuse or revenge porn). Getting other people to ‘pile on’ i.e. via threatening calls, messages or social media
  • Monitoring: using spyware technology to watch online activity
  • Control: limiting access to technology

Did you know?

  • image-based abuse is against the law
  • it is illegal to record or capture intimate images without permission
  • it is illegal to distribute intimate images without permission
  • it is illegal to threaten to record or distribute intimate images.

An ‘intimate image’ whether still or in the form of a video that shows the person would expect privacy. This includes images such as:

  • a woman without a hijab
  • a person naked or partially naked
  • a person in their underwear
  • an image of a person engaged in a private act such as, using the toilet, showering or bathing.

Image-based abuse is a crime and can be reported to eSafety, police. Our Safer Community service can assist you to make a report to the police if you would like to do so. Perpetrators of technology-facilitated abuse may be charged with stalking, child pornography, surveillance, blackmail or indecency offences. You can contact and report to the police on 000 or you can attend a Police Station in person. To find out your closest police Station, visit the Victoria Police website.

Experiencing technology-facilitated abuse

  • ask a friend, family member or neighbour for support and advice
  • make sure that it is someone that you can trust and be clear about them keeping the conversation private from the person whose behaviour is concerning
  • reach out to formal supports within the University like:
    • Safer Community
    • Counselling
    • Special Consideration
    • Advocacy
  • consider reporting to your local police station, depending on what is going on for you
  • utilise services like the eSafety Commission to check your privacy settings and get best-practice advice
  • report the abuse to the app provider. Most app providers have terms of service where abusive behaviour is not tolerated, and some app providers will intervene in certain instances
  • support yourself, consider blocking the person or taking a break from social.

Support and resources

Internal resources

  • Security for immediate assistance 24/7, call: (03) 9479 2222 and 000
  • Safer Community: Contact Safer Community if witness or experience unacceptable behaviour
  • Counselling Support: Provides counselling support on a range of issues that may be affecting a person’s wellbeing
  • Out of Hours Crisis Line: Mental health and wellbeing support after hours, from 5.00 pm–9.00 am on weeknights and 24 hours on weekends. Call: 1300 146 307 or Text: 0488 884 100.
  • Technology Facilitated Abuse [PDF 150KB] - a factsheet by Safer Community

External resources

  • Safe steps: Family violence response centre, offering 24/7 phone support for women and children – call: 1800 015 188
  • 1800 RESPECT: Provides confidential counselling and advice for sexual assault, domestic family violence counselling service. Call: 800 737 732
  • eSafety Commissioner: deals with three key types of reports:
    • cyberbullying
    • image-based abuse
    • offensive and illegal content
  • Victoria Police: You can visit your local police station and make a report, alternatively you can contact them on their 24/7 non-urgent phone line. Call: 131 444