This release presents information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS).
The survey collected detailed information from men and women about their experiences of violence since the age of 18, as well as experiences of current and previous partner violence, stalking, physical and sexual abuse and harassment, abuse before the age of 15, and general feelings of safety.
Stalking was defined in the survey as ‘any unwanted contact or attention on more than one occasion that could have caused fear or distress, or multiple types of unwanted contact or behaviour experienced on one occasion only that could have caused fear or distress’. Overall, women were more likely than men to have experienced stalking, with approximately 17% of women (1.6 million), and 6.5% of men (587,000), reporting an experience of stalking since age 15 (see Table 34). ‘‘Women were more likely to have experienced an episode of stalking by someone they knew than by a stranger’, with more than three quarters of female victims knowing their stalker. Further, women were also significantly more likely to be stalked by a man than by a woman (see Table 35). This section also contains information regarding whether victims perceived their experiences of stalking as a crime, and whether they reported the episode to the police (see Table 35).
This Australian research used a variety of methods including an anonymous ‘phone-in’ and focus groups. 102 women who were victims/survivors of domestic violence participated in the phone-in. According to the study authors, some of the callers reported ‘intense levels of surveillance, which leave women without autonomy.’ This experience was exacerbated for women living in rural and remote areas, especially on isolated properties. Strategies of surveillance included (p24):
This paper discusses the use of ICTs (information and communication technologies) in situations of domestic violence or intimate partner violence. The term ICTs includes various forms of technology, such as computers and the associated use of the Internet, mobile phones and other communication devices, including global positioning systems (GPS) or satellite navigators, digital cameras and other recording equipment. The positive and negative aspects to the increased availability of ICTs are canvassed in this paper. Gendered language is used to reflect the fact that the majority of perpetrators of domestic violence are men, though it is acknowledged that both men and women (including those in same-sex relationships) may use ICTs to abuse, control and monitor current and former intimate partners.
The paper discusses perpetrators’ abuse of ICTs in the context of domestic violence (both during a relationship and following separation), including details of the methods employed. It also discusses the phenomenon of cyberstalking and digital voyeurism. The paper then considers the use of the Internet by women survivors of domestic violence and domestic violence services.The paper concludes by considering some implications of the use of ICTs by domestic violence perpetrators, for services’ practice, legislation and policy, and research. Tips for safety planning with women follow in an appendix.
This summary report presents the results of a national (Australian) online survey of 4,274 participants, 2,406 of which were female (56%) and 1,868 male (44%).Participants ranged in age from 16 to 49, with an average age of 34 years. In addition, 3,764 (88%) participants identified as heterosexual and 510 (12%) identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (hereafter, LGB). Of those identifying as LGB, 244 identified as female (48%), and 266 (52%) identified as male. Key findings included:
Researchers at RMIT University and La Trobe University examined the extent, nature and impacts of digital harassment and abuse, as well as technology-facilitated sexual violence and harassment. 3000 Australian adults (aged 18 to 54) were surveyed about their experiences of these forms of abuse. Key findings include:
This article reviews the NSW legal response to what is referred to as ‘technology assisted stalking and abuse.’ It includes helpful examples of this behaviour:
This research was funded by Legal Aid Victoria and undertaken by the Domestic Violence Resource Centre in Victoria. It draws on interviews and focus groups with 152 domestic violence workers and 46 victims/survivors. The central research question was: “How do mobile technologies present further opportunities for the perpetration of stalking and domestic violence against women?” Findings from the study include:
This book is a key text on domestic and family violence. Although Stark is based in the United States his work has been highly influential in Australia. In this book Stark explains that domestic and family violence is a pattern of controlling behaviours akin to terrorism and hostage-taking. Drawing on court records, interviews, and FBI statistics, Stark details coercive strategies that men use to deny women their very personhood. He explains that surveillance and stalking include behaviours such as gathering information without the victim’s knowledge and letting the victim know she is being watched, and serve as a means of curtailing the victim’s activities and isolating her (p457-8).Stark also discusses what he refers to as ‘micro-surveillance’, including activities such as going through diaries and drawers etc; monitoring phone calls, bank accounts and movements; or requiring partners to ‘check-in’ as a form of coercive control used by abusers in relationships (p461-3). Stark notes on p374 surveillance tactics may be extended to the point the victim is essentially confined, amounting to a deprivation of liberty. See this YouTube video of Evan Stark, discussing the central thesis of his book: Coercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life.