A publication of the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

How abusers are tapping technology in cases of domestic violence

Spy cam and GPS devices are often promoted by the companies that sell them as a convenient way to catch a cheating spouse.

Story by Karen Coombs

But experts in domestic violence say these devices are making it easier for perpetrators of family violence to stalk and keep track of partners and ex partners and victims fear they are being constantly watched or monitored.

Research has found that with technology breaking down traditional geographical barriers, perpetrators can contact women from a distance at any time and some victims have been harassed with hundreds of text messages a day.

The use of technology is causing a rise in the number of breaches of intervention orders as the courts try to keep up with the numerous ways new devices are being used to stalk people.

Karen Coombs explores the issue in this audio report. Featured are: 

► Lauren Caulfield, a trainer for the Smart Safe program at the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria  

► Professor Kelsey Hegarty, a researcher in domestic violence at the University of Melbourne

► Leanne Sinclair, lawyer and Family Violence Program Manager at Legal Aid Victoria

► If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For practical information and confidential support visit I-DECIDE, an online interactive tool for women in unhealthy or unsafe relationships.

About The Citizen

THE CITIZEN is a publication of the Centre for Advancing Journalism. It has several aims. Foremost, it is a teaching tool that showcases the work of the students in the University of Melbourne’s Master of Journalism and Master of International Journalism programs, giving them real-world experience in working for publication and to deadline. Find out more →

  • Editor: Jo Chandler
  • Reporter: Jack Banister
  • Audio & Video editor: Louisa Lim
  • Data editor: Craig Butt
  • Editor-In-Chief: Andrew Dodd
  • Business editor: Lucy Smy
Winner — BEST PUBLICATION 2016 Ossie Awards