In this blog series, we will be examining the impact of technology on violence against women crimes, as identified by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) Safety Net Project. Over the next two weeks, the IACP Violence Against Women team will focus on Identifying Laws to Charge Perpetrators, Sexting, Email and Online Evidence Collection, Posting Content Online, and Spyware and Safety. We kick off the series with today’s post on high-tech stalking.
As technology becomes a major part of our everyday lives, it is more common for stalkers to misuse it. It is important for all programs and agencies that work with victims of stalking to understand these technologies, how stalkers misuse them, and what strategies victims and law enforcement can use to increase their safety.
Stalkers are increasingly misusing a variety of telephone, surveillance, and computer technologies to harass, terrify, intimidate, coerce, and monitor former and current intimate partners. Perpetrators are also misusing technology to stalk before, during, and after perpetrating sexual violence.
Stalkers may misuse technology to:
- Send emails or text messages to threaten or harass
- Monitor a victim’s computer activity through programs such as spyware
- Track the location of a victim using GPS
- Watch the victim through hidden cameras
- Intercept phone calls and messages
- Impersonate the victim or someone else through spoofing, email, or social media
Agencies can take several important steps to assist victims and survivors who are being stalked. Most notably, agencies can assist victims with ongoing safety planning, make changes to online accounts and websites, and document and collect evidence of these behaviors.
For more information on high-tech stalking, visit NNEDV’s Technology Safety page for articles on “High-Tech Stalking” and “Domestic Violence & Stalking in a Digital Age: Information for Community Corrections Agencies & Professionals.” You can also contact the NNEDV’s Safety Net Project by clicking here. Be sure to visit their Tech Safety blog for additional information on technology safety.
If you have questions about the IACP’s Violence Against Women efforts, please contact Michael Rizzo, IACP Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the IACP’s National Law Enforcement Leadership Initiative on Violence Against Women webpage.