Technology to combat domestic violence

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Technology will be used to counter tracking and intrusion by domestic violence perpetrators in a bid to keep survivors safe.

The federal government has announced a $104 million funding package over the next five years to prevent technology and devices being used to perpetrate or facilitate family, domestic and sexual violence.

More than half the funding will go into a program that provides technology checks to help people who have experienced domestic violence and ensure they are not abused further.

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The $54.6 million funding package will help up to 30,000 survivors stay safe in their own homes.

This will be done by checking a person’s phone and computer for any GPS tracking programs that may have been installed and searching for cameras that could be hidden in a home.

Women’s Safety Minister Anne Ruston says technology should be used as a tool to combat abuse and not a weapon to perpetrate it.

“We want to support women and children to remain in their home or a home of their choice – where it is safe and appropriate to do so – through safety planning and the provision of personal safety alarms, security cameras, dash cameras and other technology solutions,” she said.

Around $20 million will expand a program of GPS tracking, to be jointly funded and run by the states and territories.

It is based on an existing successful trial in Tasmania where people with apprehended violence orders against them – considered high risk offenders – have a monitoring system placed on them.

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The survivor is also given a pendant for the police to monitor their locations via GPS and be alerted if the two people are in the same area.

This will allow police officers to assess whether there is potential for an escalation in violence and intervene.

“We hear all too often that perpetrators flagrantly ignore the conditions of family violence orders and continue to be violent, harass and stalk their victims,” Senator Ruston said.

“This program has a proven track record of keeping Tasmanian women safer, making perpetrators more accountable and improving police response times through real time tracking.”

Just over $26 million will go towards online safety programs, including supporting the eSafety Commission to set up a team of experts for survivors.

They will provide practical personalised support to address technology-facilitated abuse through referrals from counselling services.

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