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72 per cent of Refuge service users have experienced tech abuse

Refuge, the UK's largest domestic violence charity, says that in 2019 72 per cent of service users identified experiencing tech abuse, which can range from persistent telephone calls from perpetrators, being targeted via social media, having their location tracked or spyware installed in their homes.

Refuge has launched an online chatbot which aims to provide safe and accessible information to thousands of women across the country experiencing abuse through technology.

Refuge says that it has supported women that have experienced many forms of tech abuse, from perpetrators creating fake accounts to harass them online, impersonating their online identity, putting recording devices inside children's toys, attaching GPS trackers to cars, or logging into online storage to monitor messages.

The new chatbot, which was designed by Roxanne Leitao, a PhD student at Central Saint Martins, with funding from LDoc, can be accessed via the Refuge website. It offers instructional videos as well as practical real-time tips on how to secure devices such as mobile phones and ensuring your location-tracking or map applications aren't accessible to abusive partners.

The chatbot launched on 9th January to coincide with 'Tonight -Tech Abuse: Stopping the Stalkers' broadcast date on 9th January. It can be viewed here

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