A male hand holding an iPhone and pointing towards the phone's screen.

Tech abuse and empowerment service

Our tech abuse and empowerment team supports women in our services who have had technology used against them as a weapon of domestic abuse. We empower survivors so they can use technology positively and safely and take back control of their lives.

Established in October 2017, our tech team comprises of all 350 of our staff around the country who are equipped to recognise tech abuse and advocate to empower survivors, including 40 tech champions supported by seven specialist staff who have been expertly trained to support and respond to high level tech abuse cases.

Our frontline staff are increasingly seeing the use of technology by perpetrators to stalk, harass, abuse and control their victims. As of January 2019, more than 2,500 of our clients reported experiences of technology-facilitated abuse. Tech abuse is often experienced as part of a pattern of controlling behaviour by the abuser: many survivors experience tech abuse in addition to direct domestic abuse such as physical violence, sexual and emotional abuse.

What can Refuge’s tech team help with?

  • Keeping women safe from tech threats and teaching them how to secure their devices and accounts, ensuring location privacy and preventing online abuse through social media and messaging platforms
  • Checking for any unusual activity on women’s and children’s devices or accounts, ensuring they are reset and secured
  • Empowering women to access technology safely, not to cut themselves off and compound their isolation
  • Providing information resources to survivors
  • Listening to the experiences of survivors, gathering extensive quantifiable tech abuse data using our unique casework management tool, IMPACT, to inform and improve the service, and to make a strong case for investment in tech abuse services
  • Advocating on survivors’ behalf with social media companies to take down abusive content
  • Maximising our first-class data to inform campaigning and lobbying work, for example, we submitted a response to the Government’s consultation on transforming the response to domestic abuse, highlighting the legal and policy change needed to prevent and improve the response to tech abuse
  • Sharing learnings widely and working to ensure the police, other agencies, and senior government officials recognise the deadly threat that modern technology poses to women who experience domestic violence

Further information on tech abuse

A close-up of a man on a laptop

What is tech abuse?

Modern technology gives abusers ever-growing ways to control, isolate, humiliate and dominate women using the tools of everyday life.

Learn more >

A close up of a woman holding a phone

Tech abuse and safety resources

Whether you’re a survivor or a professional, use these resources to equip you to understand how to use different devices, apps, websites and networks safely.

Learn more >

Euleen and Beth, survivors of tech abuse

Survivors’ stories

Hear the stories of two survivors of tech abuse, Euleen and Beth, who spoke at our Technological Abuse Project launch in 2017.

Learn more >