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What’s the connection between tech and domestic violence?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | FAMILY LAW - Domestic Violence

Technology has opened whole new worlds for a lot of people – but any tool can be misused, and abusive spouses have discovered that modern tech is pretty adaptable to their needs. 

Now that so many aspects of daily life are automated or tied into the “Internet of Things,” tech has become a new way for abusers to manipulate and control their spouses.

4 ways technology can be used abusively 

Domestic violence is largely about power. Here are some common ways tech has been used by abusive spouses to keep their victims in check:

  1. Instant spending alerts: Financial control is a form of abuse, so an abusive spouse may set things up so that they’re alerted to every swipe of a credit or debit card. That makes it harder for the victim to access any funds they might need to leave.
  2. Real-time surveillance: Tracking apps, GPS tags on vehicles and spyware on their phone or laptop can make it easy for an abuser to monitor their partner’s movements both on and offline. The constant surveillance, when it’s known by the victim, can also make them feel like there is simply no escape.
  3. Smart device manipulation: Abusers often want to psychologically torment their victims and make them feel unstable. It takes very little effort to remotely manipulate everything from the thermostat to the locks on the door in homes that have smart devices enabled.
  4. Online harassment: Abusers typically want to isolate their victims, so they may engage in a little “digital terrorism” by creating fake social media accounts to taunt, harass or stalk their partners – solely to make them feel unsafe everywhere, even online.

Leaving an abusive marriage isn’t easy, but there is help available. The right legal guidance can make all the difference.