Tech Abuse

Technology can allow perpetrators to control, isolate, humiliate and dominate using smartphones, tablets, laptops or any other devices.

Examples of what ‘tech abuse’ may look like include:

  • Downloading spyware onto devices that mirrors the activity from one device onto another. Perpetrators can track locations, monitor websites and apps that have been accessed, or turn on a device’s camera and/or microphone
  • Online harassment
  • Stealing online identities and credit card fraud
  • Hacking into email and/or social media accounts, or into devices themselves
  • Revenge pornography
  • Sextortion
  • Surveillance and monitoring of social media accounts
  • Posting personal information online, e.g. addresses or phone numbers, without consent
  • Spoofing and impersonating the survivor, using fake social media accounts or sending messages/pictures

Much of this abuse can happen after the victim has left the home, as a means of maintaining control.

Spot the signs

Does/did your partner:

  • Have access to all of your online accounts?
  • Try and control who you speak to online?
  • Know the passwords to your emails and/or social media, and regularly ‘check in’ on what has been sent or posted?
  • Hack into your child/children’s devices or accounts to find out their location?
  • Download apps or software to your device(s) to track what you are doing?


Contact Refuge to speak to someone about your options on 0800 408 1552.

If possible, download antivirus software to your device, which should limit the risk of any spyware being downloaded to it.

If it safe to do so, consider setting up alternative email or social media accounts that the perpetrator does not have access to or knowledge of (have usernames and/or email addresses that do not link back to you).

Do not necessarily shut down old accounts straight away; a sudden lack of activity on, or deletion of, accounts may make the perpetrator aware that alternatives have been set up instead.

Further advice on how to keep yourself safe online can be found on the Cyber Safe Warwickshire website.