Technology-facilitated abuse within the context of intimate partner violence: Barriers to and recommendations for safety planning

Author: and
Key words: , , , , ,
Issue: Volume 18, Issue 1, 2024


Technology-facilitated abuse (TFA), a consequence of structured gendered disadvantage, poses increasing harm to women survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and their children. This paper presents a small explorative transdisciplinary (social work and geography) study which aims to assess the knowledge of women professionals from four European countries (Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Northern Ireland) working in the area of IPV about TFA in general and in particular safety planning. The focus on safety planning is what distinguishes this research. The research findings indicate that the risk assessment of TFA is not always included in safety planning. Barriers, such as lack of professional knowledge, are reported. The paper ends with feminist insights about the risks of engaging in a reductionist approach when the focus becomes just the lack of knowledge per se, without accounting for the wider structural inequalities that exist within the context of patriarchal surveillance capitalism and which are primarily responsible for TFA.

Full text

Permalink (doi)

Authors Affiliations
Maria Pentaraki (1), Janet Speake *(2)
(1) Queen’s University, Belfast, United Kingdom
(2) Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, United Kingdom
* Corresponding author


Afrouz, R. (2023). The nature, patterns and consequences of technology-facilitated domestic abuse: A scoping review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 24(2), 913-927.
Bailey, J., & Burkell, J. (2021). Tech-facilitated violence: thinking structurally and intersectionally. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 5(3), 531-542.
Bailey, J. & Liliefeldt, R. (2021). Calling all stakeholders: An intersectoral dialogue about collaborating to end tech-facilitated violence and abuse. In J. Bailey, A. Flynn & N. Henry (Eds.), The Emerald international handbook of technology-facilitated violence and abuse (Emerald studies in digital crime, technology and social harms), (pp. 769-786). Bingley: Emerald Publishing.
Bansal, V., Rezwan, M., Iyer, M., Leasure, E., Roth, C., Pal, P., & Hinson, L. (2024). A scoping review of technology-facilitated gender-based violence in low-and middle-income countries across Asia. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 25(1), 463-75.
Barter, C., & Koulu, S. (2021). Digital technologies and gender-based violence– mechanisms for oppression, activism and recovery. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 5(3), 367-375.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. American Psychological Association.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2022). Thematic analysis: A practical guide. London: Sage.
Brickell, K., & Cuomo, D. (2020). Geographies of violence: feminist geopolitical approaches. In A. Datta, P. Hopkins, L. Johnson, E. Olson, and J.M. Silva (Eds.), Routledge handbook of gender and feminist geographies (pp. 297-307). London: Routledge.
Brookfield, K., Fyson, R., & Goulden, M. (2024). Technology-facilitated domestic abuse: An under-recognised safeguarding issue? The British Journal of Social Work, 54(1), 419-436.
Brown, M. L., Reed, L. A., & Messing, J. T. (2018). Technology- based abuse: Intimate partner violence and the use of information communication technologies. In J. R. Vickery, & T. Everbach (Eds.), Mediating misogyny: Gender, technology, and harassment (pp. 209-227). Cham: Springer.
Busch, N. B., & Valentine, D. (2000). Empowerment practice: A focus on battered women. Affilia, 15(1), 82-95.
Childress, S., Mammah, R., Voth, R., Schrag, R., Arenas-Itotia, K., Orwig, T., Roye, J., Mitchell, J., Dombrowsky, T., & Jarrell, L. (2024). Preparing to invervene in intimate partner violence: An interprofessional safety planning and assessment simulation. Journal of Social Work Education. 1-15.
Clement, J. (2019). Mobile app usage –statistics and facts. Statista. 1st August 2019. Retrieved from
Council of Europe. (2011). Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Vol. CETS no.210). Council of Europe. Istanbul.
Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241-1299.
Cuomo, D., & Dolci, N. (2021). New tools, old abuse: Technology-enabled coercive control (TECC). Geoforum, 126, 224-232.
Danis, F. S. (2003). Social work response to domestic violence: Encouraging news from a new look. Affilia, 18(2), 177-191.
Davies, J., & Lyon, E. (2014). Domestic violence advocacy: Complex lives/difficult choices (Vol. 7). London: Sage.
Dobash, R. E., & Dobash, R. (1979). Violence against wives: A case against patriarchy (pp. 179-206). New York: Free Press.
Dominelli, L. (2002). Feminist social work theory and practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Douglas, H., Harris, B. A. & Dragiewicz, M. (2019). Technology-facilitated domestic and family violence: Women’s experiences. The British Journal of Criminology. 59(3), 551-570.
Dragiewicz, M., Woodlock, D., Salter, M., & Harris, B. (2022). “What’s mum’s password?”: Australian mothers’ perceptions of children’s involvement in technology-facilitated coercive control. Journal of Family Violence, 37(1), 137-149.
eSafety Commissioner (2019a). Technology tour. Retrieved from
eSafety Commissioner (2019b). Technology tour. Retrieved from
Faith, B. (2022). Tackling online gender-based violence; understanding gender, development, and the power relations of digital spaces. Gender, Technology and Development, 26(3), 325-340.
Fiadeiro, R., Stevens, J., & Bichard, J. A. (2023). Structures surrounding the ‘user’ in user engagement: Gender-based violence design engagements. Diseña, 1(22), 3-17.
First, J. M., First, N. L., & Houston, J. B. (2017). Intimate partner violence and disasters: A framework for empowering women experiencing violence in disaster settings. Affilia, 32(3), 390-403.
Flynn, A., Powell, A., & Hindes, S. (2023). Policing technology-facilitated abuse. Policing and Society, 33(5), 325-340.
Freed, D., Palmer, J., Minchala, D. E., Levy, K., Ristenpart, T., & Dell, N. (2017). Digital technologies and intimate partner violence: A qualitative analysis with multiple stakeholders. Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) on Human-Computer Interaction, 1(1), 1–22.
Guest, G., Bunce, A., & Johnson, L. (2006). How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability. Field Methods, 18(1), 59-82.
Hack*Blossom (2019). DIY Cybersecurity for Domestic Violence. Retrieved from
Harkin, D., & Merkel, R. (2023). Technology-based responses to technology-facilitated domestic and family violence: An overview of the limits and possibilities of tech-based “solutions”. Violence against Women, 29(3-4), 648-670.
Harris, B. A. (2018). Spacelessness, spatiality and intimate partner violence: Technology- facilitated abuse, stalking and justice. In J. Maher, S. Walklate, J. McCulloch & K. Fitz-Gibbon (Eds.), Intimate partner violence, risk and security: Securing women’s lives in a global world (Routledge studies in crime, security and justice (pp.52-70). London: Routledge.
Harris, B. A., & Woodlock, D. (2019). Digital coercive control: Insights from two landmark domestic violence studies. The British Journal of Criminology, 59(3), 530-550.
Harris, B. A., & Woodlock, D. (2022). Spaceless violence: Women’s experiences of technology- facilitated domestic violence in regional, rural and remote areas. Australian Institute of Criminology Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice [electronic resource], (644), 1-14. Retrieved from
Henry, N., & Powell, A. (2016). Sexual violence in the digital age: The scope and limits of criminal law. Social & Legal Studies, 25(4), 397-418.
hooks, b. (2003). Teaching community: A pedagogy of hope. New York: Routledge.
Hoyle C. (2008). Will she be safe? A critical analysis of risk assessment in domestic violence cases. Children and Youth Services Review, 30(3), 323–337.
Hunnicutt, G. (2009). Varieties of patriarchy and violence against women: Resurrecting “patriarchy” as a theoretical tool. Violence against Women, 15(5), 553-573.
Kelly, L. (1988). Surviving sexual violence. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Kim, B., & Royle, M. (2024). Domestic violence in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: A synthesis of systematic reviews. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 25(1), 476-493.
King-Ries, A. (2010). Teens, technology, and cyberstalking: The domestic violence wave of the future. Texas Journal of Women & the Law, 20, 131-164.
Klencakova, L.E., Pentaraki, M., & McManus, C. (2023). The impact of intimate partner violence on young women’s educational well-being: A systematic review of literature. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 24(2), 1172-1187.
Kress V., Adamson N., Paylo M., DeMarco C., & Bradley N. (2012). The use of safety plans with children and adolescents living in violent families. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 20(3), 249–255.
Laricchia (2022). Installed base of smart speakers in the United States from 2018-22. Statista, 29th March 2022. Retrieved from: statistics/967402/united-states-smart-speakers-in- households/
Laxton, C. (2014). Virtual world, real fear: Women’s Aid report into online abuse harassment and stalking. Bristol: Women’s Aid Federation.
Lechman, E., & Popowska, M. (2022). Overcoming gender bias in the digital economy. Empirical evidence for European countries. Gender, Technology and Development, 26(3), 404-436.
Leitão, R. (2019). Technology-facilitated intimate partner abuse: a qualitative analysis of data from online domestic abuse forums. Human–Computer Interaction, 36(3), 203-242.
Lindhorst, T., Nurius, P., & Macy, R. J. (2005). Contextualized assessment with battered women: strategic safety planning to cope with multiple harms. Journal of Social Work Education, 41(2), 331–352.
Lopez-Neira, I., Patel, T., Parkin, S., Danezis, G., & Tanczer, L. (2019). ‘Internet of things’: How abuse is getting smarter. Safe–The Domestic Abuse Quarterly, 63, 22-26.
Maguire, S. & Pentaraki, M. (2023). Barriers to domestic violence education in Northern Ireland: Pupils’ views and experiences. British Educational Research Journal, 49(3), 593-612.
Martínez-Cantos, J. L. (2017). Digital skills gaps: A pending subject for gender digital inclusion in the European Union. European Journal of Communication, 32(5), 419-438.
Mason, C. L., & Magnet, S. (2012). Surveillance studies and violence against women. Surveillance & Society, 10(2), 105-118.
McGlynn, C., Rackley, E., & Houghton, R. (2017). Beyond ‘revenge porn’: The continuum of image-based sexual abuse. Feminist Legal Studies, 25, 25-46.
Messing, J., Bagwell-Gray, M., Brown, M. L., Kappas, A., & Durfee, A. (2020). Intersections of stalking and technology-based abuse: Emerging definitions, conceptualization, and measurement. Journal of Family Violence, 35, 693-704.
Mohan, A. (2014). Cyber security for personal medical devices internet of things. In 2014 IEEE international conference on distributed computing in sensor systems (pp. 372-374). IEEE.
Molnar, A. & Harkin, D. (2019). The consumer spyware industry: An Australian based analysis of the threats of consumer spyware. Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney.
Murray C. E., & Graves K. N. (2012). Responding to family violence: A comprehensive, research-based guide for therapists. New York: Routledge.
Murray, C. E., Horton, G. E., Johnson, C. H., Notestine, L., Garr, B., Pow, A.M., Marsh, A., Flasch, P. & Doom, E. (2015). Journal of Family Violence, 30(3), 381-392.
National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) (2019). The Safety Net Project. Retrieved from
Nikupeteri, A., Katz, E., & Laitinen, M. (2021). Coercive control and technology-facilitated parental stalking in children’s and young people’s lives. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 5(3), 395-412.
Olsson, H., Larsson, A.K.L., & Susanne, J.M. (2024). Social workers’ experience of working with partner violence. The British Journal of Social Work, 54(2), 704-722.
Pain, R. (2014). Everyday terrorism: Connecting domestic violence and global terrorism. Progress in Human Geography, 38(4), 531-550.
Pain, R. and Scottish Women’s Aid (2012). Everyday terrorism: How fear works in domestic abuse. Published by Durham University and Scottish Women’s Aid. Retrieved from
Pence, E., & Paymar, M. (1993). The Duluth Model. New York: Springer.
Pentaraki, M. (2009). Family violence agencies in Greece and community development proposals to address the issue of violence against women. In K. Samartzi & N. Papachristopoulos (Eds.), Family and new forms of partnership (pp. 209-228). Athens: Opportuna.
Pentaraki, M. (2013a). Measures to fight violence against women. European Commission’s exchange of good practises programme, Spain, 16–17 April.
Pentaraki, M. (2013b). ‘If we do not cut social spending, we will end up like Greece’: Challenging consent to austerity through social work action. Critical Social Policy, 33(4), 700-711.
Pentaraki, M. (2017). The fear of double disclosure and other barriers to help seeking. In S. Holt, C. Øverlien, & J. Devaney (Eds.), Responding to domestic violence: Emerging challenges for policy, practice and research in Europe (pp. 135-151). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Pentaraki, M. (2019a). Considerations when using online/distant technology for service provision. Belfast: Queen’s University Belfast. Erasmus + KA2 Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practises Agreement Number: 2017-1-EL01-KA202-036170.
Pentaraki, M. (2019b). Practising social work in a context of austerity: Experiences of public sector social workers in Greece. European Journal of Social Work, 22(3), 376-387.
Pentaraki, M. (2023). COVID-19 response–lessons learned: challenging the neoliberal TINA discourse through social work education. Social Work Education, 42(7), 1002-1018.
Pentaraki, M. & Speake, J. (2015). Reclaiming hope within the geopolitics of economic bullying: The case of SYRIZA and post-referendum Greece. Antipode Intervention. Antipode 20 October. Retrieved from
Pentaraki, M. & Speake, J. (2020). Domestic violence in a COVID-19 context: Exploring emerging issues through a systematic analysis of the literature. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 8(10), 193-211.
Pentaraki, M., & Speake, J. (2022). Grassroots solidarity structures in Greece as counterhegemonic practices contesting the dominant neoliberal hegemony. Human Geographies: Journal of Studies & Research in Human Geography, 16(1), 5-21.
Refuge (2021). Unsocial spaces: Making online spaces safer for women and girls. London: Refuge. Retrieved from
Refuge (2024a). Information and support on tech abuse. London: Refuge. Retrieved from
Refuge (2024b). Secure your tech. London; Refuge. Retrieved from tech/
Rogers, M. M., Fisher, C., Ali, P., Allmark, P., & Fontes, L. (2022). Technology-facilitated abuse in intimate relationships: a scoping review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 24(4), 2210-2226.
Schechter, S. (1982). Women and male violence: The visions and struggles of the battered women’s movement. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.
Shulruff, T. (2022). Gender-based violence enabled by location technologies. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 36(12), 2345-2351.
Slupska, J., & Brown, M. L. (2022, April). Aiding intimate violence survivors in lockdown: Lessons about digital security in the COVID-19 pandemic. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts, 1-5.
Slupska, J. & Tanczer, L. M. (2021). Threat modeling intimate partner violence: Tech abuse as a cybersecurity challenge in the internet of things. In J. Bailey, A. Flynn & N. Henry (Eds.), The Emerald international handbook of technology-facilitated violence and abuse, 663-688. Leeds: Emerald Publishing Limited.
Southworth, C., Finn, J., Dawson, S., Fraser, C., & Tucker, S. (2007). Intimate partner violence, technology, and stalking. Violence against Women, 13(8), 842-856.
Speake, J. (2015). ‘I’ve got my Sat Nav, it’s alright’: Users’ attitudes towards, and engagements with, technologies of navigation. The Cartographic Journal, 52(4), 345-355.
Speake, J., & Pentaraki, M. (2023). COVID-19, city centre streetscapes, and public health signage. Cities & Health, 7(4), 585-601.
Stark, E. (2007). Coercive control: How men entrap women in personal life. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Stark, E. (2018). Coercive control as a framework for responding to male partner abuse in the UK: Opportunities and challenges. In N. Lombard (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of gender and violence (pp. 15-27). London: Routledge.
Strohmayer, A., Bellini, R., & Slupska, J. (2022). Safety as a grand challenge in pervasive computing: Using feminist epistemologies to shift the paradigm from security to safety. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 21(3), 61-69.
Sweet, P. L. (2019). The sociology of gaslighting. American Sociological Review, 84(5), 851-875.
Tanczer, L. M. (2023). Technology-facilitated abuse and the internet of things (IoT): The implication of the smart, internet-connected devices on domestic violence and abuse. In Technology and domestic and family violence (pp. 76-87). London: Routledge.
Tanczer, L. M., López-Neira, I., & Parkin, S. (2021). ‘I feel like we’re really behind the game’: Perspectives of the United Kingdom’s intimate partner violence support sector on the rise of technology-facilitated abuse. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 5(3), 431-450.
Tanczer, L. M., Patel, T., Parkin, S., & Danezis, G. (2018). Transforming the response to domestic abuse, Government Consultation May 2018. Retrieved from consultation_0.pdf
Theobald, J., Watson, J., Murray, S.., & Bullen, J. (2021). Women’s refuges and critical social work: Opportunities and challenges in advancing social justice. The British Journal of Social Work, 51(1), 3-20.
Tseng, E., Freed, D., Engel, K., Ristenpart, T. & Dell, N. (2021). A digital safety dilemma: Analysis of computer-mediated computer security interventions for intimate partner violence during COVID-19, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’21).
UNICEF (2020) COVID-19: Create your safety plan in case of domestic violence. Retrieved from
Usher, K., Bhullar, N., Durkin, J., Gyamfi, N., & Jackson, D. (2020). Family violence and COVID-19: Increased vulnerability and reduced options for support. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 29(4), 549-552.
Vieira, P.R., Garcia, L.P., and Maciel, E.L.N. (2020). Isolamento social e o aumento da violência doméstica: o que isso nos revela? Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia, 23, e200033.
Wajcman, J. (2010). Feminist theories of technology. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34(1), 143-152.
Warrington, M. (2002). ‘I must get out’: The geographies of domestic violence. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 26(3), 365-382.
Wilkinson, R.G. & Pickett, K. (2009). The spirit level: Why more equal societies almost always do better. London: Allen Lane/Penguin Books.
Williams, S. R., Afrouz, R., & Vassos, S. (2023). Exploring rural and regional social workers’ perceptions and practices of technology-facilitated domestic abuse. Australian Social Work, 76(2), 231-244.
Women’s Aid (2020). Covid-19/Coronavirus: Safety advice for survivors. Retrieved from
Women’s Aid (2022a). Technology and domestic abuse: Experiences of survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from
Women’s Aid (2022b). A perfect storm: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic abuse survivors and the services supporting them. Bristol: Women’s Aid. Retrieved from
Women’s Aid (2024). Cover your tracks online. Bristol: Women’s Aid. Retrieved
Wood, L. (2015). Hoping, empowering, strengthening: Theories used in intimate partner violence advocacy. Affilia, 30(3), 286-301.
Woodlock, D. (2017). The abuse of technology in domestic violence and stalking, Violence Against Women, 23(5), 584–602.
Woodlock, D., McKenzie, M., Western, D., & Harris, B. (2019). Technology as a weapon in domestic violence: Responding to digital coercive control. Australian Social Work, 73(3), 368-380.
World Health Organization (WHO). (2013). Global and regional estimates violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Yardley, E. (2021). Technology-facilitated domestic abuse in political economy: A new theoretical framework. Violence against Women, 27(10), 1479-1498.
Zuboff, S. (2019). Surveillance capitalism and the challenge of collective action. New Labor Forum, 28(1), 10-29. Los Angeles: Sage.

This post has already been read 1375 times!

About journal

Title: Human Geographies - Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography
ISSN online: 2067-2284
ISSN print: 1843-6587
Imprint: University of Bucharest
Frequency: Biannual (May&November)
First volume: 1/2007
Current volume: 18/2024
Language: English
Indexed in: SCOPUS, ERIH PLUS, EBSCO (SocINDEX), ProQuest (Social Science Journals, SciTech Journals, Natural Science Journals), Index Copernicus, National Technical Information Service (NTiS), Bodleian Libraries, ExLibris SFX, DOAJ, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Library, Google Scholar, Ulrich
Creative Commons License


Prof. dr. Liliana Dumitrache
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Daniela Dumbrăveanu
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Mariana Nae
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Gabriel Simion
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

SCImago Journal & Country Rank