We receive a lot of questions from victim service providers about technology safety. How do we use use technology within our organizations? How are abusers misusing technology to stalk victims? How do we educate survivors on increasing their privacy when using technology. In response to those questions and concerns, we have developed additional resources to assist programs and survivors. We are very excited to officially release two brand new toolkits for that exact purpose: Agency’s Use of Technology Best Practices & Policies and Technology Safety & Privacy: A Toolkit for Survivors. These two toolkits comprise of a variety of resources on technology safety issues that will be helpful for victim service providers and the survivors they serve.
The misuse of technology by abusers is a serious concern for victim service agencies working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking. Because we use technology every day of our lives, it has become an easy tool for perpetrators to misuse to stalk and harass victims. Survivors need to know how to strategize for their own safety when using technology.
The Technology Safety & Privacy: A Toolkit for Survivors contains information on a variety of topics to help survivors maintain their safety. Resources include safety plans around technology use, including a specific safety plan for cell phones; videos on how to limit location access on a smart phone and how to take a screenshot on a computer or cell phone to document abuse; and lots of information on online safety, including a Facebook privacy & safety guide and tips on how to create more secure passwords.
The need to know how to use technology safely isn’t limited to survivors. Victim service agencies need to make sure that their own use of technology is secure and private. How they set up and use technology can have serious safety implications for the survivors they work with. The Agency’s Use of Technology Best Practices & Policies toolkit includes a wide range of information, including guidance when using different types of technology to communicate with survivors; resources on data management, including how to select a database; and best practices and policies around the use of technologies such as faxes and computers.
These toolkits and resources were created with support from US DOJ-OVC Grant #2011-VF-GX-K016.