There is no denying that technology has a significant impact on our lives in this age of rapid technological innovation. Unquestionably, it has resulted in great developments, but it also has a negative aspect that is sometimes overlooked – it’s role in domestic abuse.

In this blog we shed light on the intricate relationship between technology and domestic abuse, exploring the various ways it is being used as a silent yet potent weapon.

The growing threat:

Domestic abuse has progressed beyond abuse that of physical, emotional or coercive, infiltrating into the digital realm. As we become increasingly interconnected, perpetrators of domestic abuse exploit technology to coerce, control, manipulate, and monitor their victims.

Refuge UK has reported that 72% of service users experienced incidents of domestic abuse involving technology, highlighting the urgency of addressing this issue.

Source: Refuge

  1. Cyberstalking and surveillance:

Cyberstalking and surveillance are two of the most insidious ways technologies fuelling domestic abuse. Abusers use various methods online to control their victims, including spyware, GPS tracking, and covert cameras all to monitor their victims. This violation of privacy extends the reach of abuse beyond the physical realm, leaving victims feeling trapped and powerless.


  1. Online harassment and intimidation:

Social media platforms and messaging apps provide abusers with a powerful tool for harassment and intimidation. These platforms can be used by perpetrators to degrade their victims, distribute sexual material without permission, or sway public opinion against them.

Source: Women’s Aid

  1. Financial exploitation:

Abusers can exert financial control by tracking spending habits and limiting access to finances thanks to technology. The use of joint accounts, digital wallets, and online banking opens doors for manipulation, making it difficult for victims to leave abusive situations.

Source: Bristol University Press

  1. Phone hacking

Smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives; the insidious act of phone hacking has emerged as a distressing tool in the hands of domestic abusers. Perpetrators exploit technological vulnerabilities to monitor calls, messages, social media and infiltrate financial accounts, leaving victims feeling trapped and exposed.

  1. Revenge porn:

A troubling practice has emerged as a result of the widespread sharing of sexual video online – revenge porn. Abusers use intimate images and videos to exert control, blackmailing victims into compliance under the threat of exposure.


Combating the threat

As the dark side of technology continues to evolve, Somerset Council are committed to raising awareness and implementing support and measures to protect victims of domestic abuse.

Supporting someone you know

Do you think you know someone affected by the issues described on this page? Find out how you can support them here: Supporting someone experiencing domestic abuse.

Learn how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse – FREE learning modules here: Vue App (


As technology continues to shape our world, acknowledging its role in domestic abuse is imperative. By raising awareness, implementing legal protections, and providing support for victims, we can strive to create a safer digital environment for those affected by domestic abuse. The battle against this silent perpetrator requires a collective effort, with the aim that technology becomes a tool for empowerment rather than exploitation.

You can find out more about technology security here: Bytes of Safety: Shielding Against Digital Control in Domestic Abuse

If you are experiencing any form of domestic abuse, worried about someone you know, or are concerned about the impact of your behaviour towards others, then help is available: or by telephoning 0800 69 49 999 – between 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week.

In an emergency you should always dial 999. If you are worried that an abuser may overhear your call you can remain silent, tap the phone and dial 55 when prompted by the operator who will send help.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired you can register with Once registered you will be able to send a text to 999 if you require help in an emergency.

Related articles: 

The cost of living crisis – a catalyst for increasing levels of domestic abuse.

Beyond the bruises – Somerset’s new fight against non-physical domestic abuse

10 signs of an unhealthy relationship

Gaslighting – what is it?

About this article

February 27, 2024

Michael Wallis

Advice and support


Children and young people