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Domestic violence goes high tech: important info to keep victims safe

Domestic violence goes high tech: important info to keep victims safe
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Domestic abuse has gone mobile. Abusive spouses want power, and there's nothing that makes them feel more powerful than using the latest tech to terrify the person who loves them most.

In a recent survey, National Public Radio asked 72 U.S. domestic violence shelters about how smartphones have affected domestic abuse victims. I was shocked when I heard the results and I'm sure that you will be, too.

  • 85 percent of shelters help victims whose abuser tracked them by GPS
  • 75 percent help victims whose abuser tracked them with remote tools
  • 54 percent ask victims to disable GPS on intake
  • 47 percent ask victims to disable Facebook when they enter the shelter

Here's what those numbers mean:

GPS tracking could mean anything from an app installed on their phone to a bug attached to their car. Now that more than half of Americans now own smartphones, it makes the most sense that an abuser would track their spouse with an app.

I was surprised to see that more shelters opted not to ask abuse victims to turn off their phone's GPS. The tech world moves quickly and I think that half of the surveyed shelters could do with some updated security protocols.

Next page: What are "remote tools?"
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