New guide looks to tackle digital domestic abuse in Ireland

6 Oct 2022

Image: © BNP Design Studio/

The new guide from Safe Ireland aims to educate frontline responders and support women to recognise the red flags of tech-based domestic abuse.

A new safety booklet has been released to help support women and children who are dealing with technology-facilitated domestic abuse.

The online booklet has been primarily developed as a tool for frontline domestic-abuse responders to help them recognise the warning signs, know how to respond and increase online safety for women and children.

The guide was made by Safe Ireland and the National Cyber Security Awareness Taskforce. Its release follows a two-week billboard campaign in Cork, which aimed to raise awareness of behavioural red flags in digital domestic abuse.

Some examples of technology-facilitated abuse include denying access to devices to isolate a victim, posting abusive comments on social media, sending threatening messages, accessing personal accounts and using tracking devices to monitor a person’s location.

“Technology-facilitated abuse has become a powerful means of coercion by perpetrators which allows significant reach beyond the boundary of the home,” Safe Ireland CEO Mary McDermott said.

“As healthy behaviours regarding the use of technology have not yet been culturally settled, in many cases women may not recognise technology-facilitated coercion and abuse as the behaviour may be perceived as normal.”

Safe Ireland said the guide is also designed for professionals such as Gardaí, doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and other healthcare workers.

Additionally, it aims to educate and empower women to recognise the signs of digital domestic abuse and to limit perpetrators’ access to their digital activity.

Cyber Awareness Ireland founder Joanne O’Connor said the new partnership is narrowing the “tech security knowledge gap” between Ireland’s cybersecurity industry and the national organisation that supports survivors of domestic abuse.

“We hope this guide will enable support and service workers to bolster the existing services Safe Ireland provide and enhance the protection of victims and survivors of technology-facilitated abuse,” O’Connor added.

“We also encourage the general population to absorb this guide on responding to technology-facilitated abuse to better equip each of us to recognise and respond in safe, encouraging and informed way.”

Safe Ireland said a new online course in technology-assisted abuse is currently under development at University College Cork. This course is designed for frontline domestic abuse professionals, but is expected to be of interest to university staff and students.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic