GRAZIA CAMPAIGN CALLS FOR TECH COMPANIES TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST DIGITAL ABUSE
Grazia has partnered with leading domestic abuse charity Refuge to lobby for technology companies to better integrate women’s safety in the design of their products.
Refuge has found that technology now plays a role in more than half (72%) of domestic abuse cases for survivors they have supported and includes behaviours such as installing specific controlling software on a partner’s phone and the use of tracking and camera hardware to track an individual.
The campaign is calling for ‘Safety by Design’ – challenging leading tech companies to make a pledge and take greater responsibility when designing new software to avoid inadvertently facilitating coercive or controlling behaviour. It also seeks to raise awareness about the role technology can play in domestic abuse.
Hattie Brett, Editor, Grazia UK said: “When we think of domestic abuse, we all too often think of the physical signs of abuse, but as more of our lives are spent on digital platforms, technology now plays a powerful role in cases of domestic abuse, causing both psychological and economical suffering.
From the ability to freeze access to bank accounts at the touch of a button to tracking an individual’s every move – these features are now prevalent in the increased cases of digital stalking of women. That needs to stop. And for that to happen it is clear women’s safety needs to be considered at the design stage of new tech products. We’re always proud to work with organisations like Refuge in the fight for the kind of positive change that will have a profound impact on the lives of women everywhere.”
Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge said: “Refuge is pleased to be collaborating with Grazia on this new campaign. The issue of technology-facilitated abuse is one which we at Refuge see growing year-on-year. Refuge is the only frontline service which has a specialist team to support women experiencing this insidious and complex form of abuse, and we are concerned about the increasingly intricate ways that technology is being used to cause harm. Of the women and their children Refuge supported in 2020-21, 59% experienced abuse involving technology, and the number of survivors our specialist team has supported has risen by 258% between 2018 and 2022.
Alongside Grazia, we are now calling for technology companies to think of women’s safety at the design stage of new products. ‘Safety by design’ would mean that the risks and danger women sadly face when using technology were no longer an afterthought. I sincerely hope that tech companies rise to the challenge and begin to truly prioritise women’s safety.”
Find out more in the current issue of Grazia, on sale now, and online https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/in-the-news/digital-stalking-campaign-tech-firms-prioritise-womens-safety/.
Sign the petition now at https://chng.it/4pMwGkc2Gv.
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Refuge supports thousands of women and their children on any given day, and every two minutes someone looks to Refuge for help. Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and on average two women are killed by a current or former partner a week.
Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For support with tech abuse visit refugetechsafety.org.