Domestic abuse against intimate partners is sadly widespread: It affects nearly one in four women and one in six men at some point in their lives.
There are one in seven children whom have been made witness to domestic abuse before their 18th birthday. In addition to physical and emotional violence, software, known as ‘spyware’ has been contrived to enable abusers to stalk their victims electronically.
Imagine that your girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse has equipped themselves with the ability to track your every location, read your every text message, record and listen to your phone calls, and more.
The degree of access that spyware gives abusers allows them to exert a disturbing level of control over their victims’ lives, exacerbating whatever physical, emotional, and sexual abuse they are already inflicting. Whilst monitoring, harassing and stalking behaviours have always been a part of domestic abuse experiences – the modern age has simply provided cheaper and simpler ways to exert this control.
The app has become known as ‘spouse ware’ due to the sheer amount of users who are paying for this software to become a fly on the wall of their partner’s life. Over 58,000 android users have had the stalker ware installed on their phone. The powerful surveillance programs are sold openly online to just about anybody for a small fee. There are a multitude of advice pages and blogs offering instructions on how to effectively stalk a partner.
A typical blog entry urged readers: “Don’t be a sucker: track your girlfriend’s iPhone now … Catch her today.”
Gone are the days when stalking required a specialist skillset, sophisticated tech gadgets and software. Hacking software, tracking devices and cheap surveillance methods are increasingly readily (and cheaply) available online at the click of a button.
Refuge, a domestic abuse safe house, has also warned survivors about the risk of having popular social media apps downloaded on your phone with location services enabled. This poses not just a risk for the victim who has the application installed, but also for the other victims who have taken refuge in the safe house.
The Morecrofts domestic abuse team has had countless referrals involving harrowing abuse through the use of tracking devices and social media.
We also advise following these tips in using your electronic advice
- Protect your gadgets with a reliable password and never disclose it to anyone, even family members.
- Block installation of third-party apps. This will protect you against both stalker ware and real malware
- Recommendations have also been made to parents who are privy to a contact arrangement between their children and their abusive ex partner – to give their children less sophisticated and inexpensive mobile phones to limit the possibility of surveillance through children
At Morecrofts our specialist family law solicitors work tirelessly with many of the domestic abuse agencies. To find out more or to speak to someone, call 0151 236 8871, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form.