• Domestic Violence Victims Targeted Online – Domestic Violence Expert Tina Royles


    This article http://mg.co.za/article/2013-09-06-00-cyberbullying-is-linked-to-domestic-violence is really important as it highlights an often overlooked dimension in the issue of  how to protect a victim of domestic violence and abuse from the harassment, threats, intimidation and the coercive control through online abuse.  It also discusses how easy it is in this ‘social media’ world most of us now live in for ex partners to be able to track down a former partner, monitor their life, and begin a process of emotional and psychological abuse.

    Social media for most of us that are not particularly technologically gifted find it challenging to get our heads around the scope this information highway has, and having been a former police officer, I know this will also be difficult for many officers to comprehend.

    So yes training is needed for police officers around how social media integrates with crime, and how to retrieve and use such information as evidence when a crime has been committed. Officers within domestic violence and hate crime units should also have more in-depth training of how online activity plays its part within the complexities of domestic violence, and link in with specialist units who deal more specifically with the cyberbullying for a coordinated response.

    Whether we need to challenge the government on bringing about specific legislation to address online activity is one for debate, however at present there are existing criminal offences which should be utilised for such activity.

    When officers are then informed of a crime, and have the evidence, they should then be able to contact the providers and be given the information of the account holder. This is again where the service provider needs to step up to the mark, and include something in their terms and conditions of use that if any alleged crime has been perpetrated then they will provide such information to the police or other criminal justice agency in order to investigate and prosecute, and if the new user wants to use the social media service then they have to agree to this information being provided. Some of course would object to this and be screaming ‘big brother’, but we have to take into account of the impact and affect on the victim of such crimes and their families.

    What would be difficult is where the perpetrator of such crime provides false registration details to the social media provider or equally hides behind anonymous information, but this is where the social media providers again need to step up to the mark, and perhaps ensure that correct details are provided, one way to do this would be to consider requesting a nominal registration fee when a new user registers an account and has to pay this fee annually using a credit or debit card in order to ensure up to date information is supplied. Service providers might be uncomfortable with this approach, but they need to take responsibility for the service they provide and ensure every possible and appropriate step and measure is taken to eradicate cyberbullying in whichever shape or form it presents itself in.

    For so long the pendulum has swung in favour of perpetrators and it is about time victims had their voices heard and their concerns and fears addressed.

    Tina Royles is:

    1. Director and Psychotherapist of a private therapy centre specialising in domestic violence, and also relationship difficulties
    2. Author of “When the Apple of Your Eye is Rotten at the Core” 
    3. Former Police Officer of 16 years, with several years specialising as a Domestic Violence Officer
    4. Former Trustee & Director of Women’s Refuges, Chair & Coordinator of Domestic Violence Partnership Forums, Manager of Voluntary Perpetrator Programme, & CEO of Domestic Violence Organisation

    For Domestic Violence Counselling please visit www.selyortherapycentre.com

    For Media Requests please email Tina at tina@tinaroyles.com

    About Tina Royles

    Connet with me: Google+ Tina Royles is the UKs leading expert in domestic violence offering Domestic Violence Counselling, Relationship Counselling and Anger as well as Stress Management Counselling. She is one of the UK’s most qualified and experienced domestic violence experts providing consultancy and advice to those who have suffered domestic violence, are currently in violent relationships or to friends and family of those affected. Tina provides the materials and tools to manage relationship difficulties and domestic violence through awareness and education and is regularly called upon by the national and local press to provide expert comments on high profile cases. Tina Royles

    View all posts by Tina Royles

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