August 13, 2020

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Online Resource to Protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Women from Tech Abuse

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Women Protection From Tech Abuse
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New research from the Australia’s eSafety Commissioner shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women commonly experience online abuse, restricted access to technology and stalking as part of domestic and family violence, with impacts rippling out to the wider community.

The Problem

According to a recent press release, domestic and family violence frontline workers interviewed as part of this survey cited low digital literacy, limited understanding about how to help women experiencing tech abuse and a culture of sharing phones as placing significant barriers to seeking support.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant explained that while it is known that technology-facilitated abuse has similar impacts on women of all backgrounds, it can be particularly challenging for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, who fear being socially isolated from their community.

Although they usually turned to elders, family and close friends for support, they were often unable to help due to their lack of technological expertise.

The Solution

  • Because of this, the eSafety Commissioner is working closely with communities to develop new online resources to assist Elders and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women so that they can deal with this issue.
  • The new resources will help Elders better mediate tech abuse in the community, while face-to-face training and supporting resources will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in recognising and dealing with technology-facilitated abuse.
  • The co-designed resources will be available from 2020 and are funded as part of the Women’s Safety Package Technology Trials and the Fourth Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.
  • Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher explained that technology-facilitated abuse of women, particularly in vulnerable groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, is a significant and ongoing issue.
  • To address this, the Australian Government is providing the eSafety Office with AU$ 2.5 million to support important work for these communities.
  • The latest report from eSafety highlights both the severity and complexity of the challenge and provides valuable insights to shape future programs and resources.

Zero Tolerance for Violence Against Women and Children

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Senator, the Hon. Marise Payne shared that the Australian Government has zero tolerance for violence against women and their children.

Women have the right to be safe in their homes, in their communities, in their workplaces, and online.

To break the cycle of violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women online, solutions must be community-driven.

In addition, the solutions must be trauma-informed approaches that prioritise cultural healing, family restoration, and the strength of Indigenous families.

They are working with selected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities so that they can tailor and customise their eSafetyWomen program to meet the needs of communities.

Doing so will allow the women to get the essential help that they need.

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