SafetyNetSafety. Confidentiality. Privacy. These are important aspects of working with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, human trafficking and stalking. When it comes to technology, we are still learning how to navigate the virtual world to be a safe environment for survivors while perpetrators use technology to facilitate, perpetrate, and continue their abuse online.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) held their 4th Annual Technology Summit in San Francisco, CA this past July. Conference participants represented 48 U.S states, including the territories and countries of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, and Great Britain. The robust attendance indicated the need to understanding and training on the intersection of technology and gender-based violence.
The Summit intended to increase advocates, law enforcement, and attorneys’ knowledge in maximizing technology to hold perpetrators accountable while empowering survivors. A few highlights from the Summit were the Q&A with Technology Companies from Google, Uber, and Twitter and facilitated by NNEDV Executive Director, Cindy Southworth. The panel discussed tech safety and what companies are doing to ensure their platforms are as safe as possible for users. In the workshop Eat, Sleep, and Tech: Understanding Tech Abuse Among Youth, presenters from Day One, a New York-based organization that partner with youth to end dating abuse and domestic violence, stressed working with youth without the stereotypes that they are “reckless, hypersexual, and thoughtless risk-takers, and examine how these stereotypes are further amplified in the realm of technology abuse, particularly around nonconsensual pornography.” Lastly, the workshop Meeting Confidentiality Obligations in a Digital Age, presented by Alicia Aiken, Executive Director of Confidentiality Institute, discussed how “confidential professionals working with violence survivors must determine whether today’s hottest new solution is: safe and secure from intentional misuse, private to prevent inadvertent disclosure, and sufficiently understood by the survivor and the provider.”
Finally, NNEDV proudly launched the Tech Safety App. According to NNEDV, “the Tech Safety App is an educational mobile app that helps users identify how abusers can harass them by misusing technology and learn what steps they can take to enhance their technology safety and privacy.” You can download app from the App Store or Google Play.
Overall, the 4th Annual Technology Summit was informative, leaving with a bag full of resources, information and the new Tech Safety app. When survivors are subjected to violence via technology, the answer “don’t use facebook”, “don’t go online” can cut them off to crucial support networks. Thus, the more we understand how to advocate in the digital space, we are helping survivors feel and become more empowered with technology. Because techKNOWLEDGEy is power.