What is tech abuse?

Tech abuse is real. Abusers may use technology to control, harass or intimidate you. They may carry out physical, sexual, psychological or economic abuse using technology.

For example, they may hack your phone, cyberstalk you or use social media, cameras, or other kinds of technology to try to harm or control you or your children.

Even if you’ve told someone and they didn’t believe you…you have the right to be safe and respected online and in real life.

Signs you may be experiencing tech abuse

  • Is your abuser constantly sending you messages or calling?

    If someone sends you messages, emails, posts, or calls that are distracting, scary, or unwanted, that is harassment. You might feel scared, angry, or helpless. It might get in the way of your work, school, sleep or time with other people. Harassment is not acceptable.

    You might consider blocking their number. Before blocking, make sure to follow the steps in our guides to secure your phone or account so they can’t go back in and unblock themselves.

    Abusers will often find another way to contact you. You can speak to our team for help with a safety plan.

  • Does an abuser have access to your online banking or benefits?

    A partner might have access or hack into your financial accounts even after you break up.

    They might take out loans, leases, or set up accounts using your name or credit. You have a right to control your own finances and credit and protect your personal accounts.

    You can reach out to team for help by calling 08000 198 668 or texting 07534 617 252, or Get Help.

  • Is your abuser controlling your tech?

    They might control access to your phone, email, social media, internet, or other technology.

    They might also threaten to damage your phone or other tech. You have a right to be online, and to use tech to connect with friends and family. You have the right to use technology positively and to be in control of your life.

    You can follow the steps in these guides to secure your phone or accounts.

    Abusers may demand that they have control of your tech. You can reach out to our team for help. 

  • Does your partner or ex-partner show up wherever you are?

    They may seem to know everywhere you go, or show up unexpectedly. They might tell you that they’re watching you or ask why you went somewhere. This can happen through your phone, social media, family share account, transit account, or your car. You have a right to a private life.

    Use this guide to keep your location private.

  • Is someone posting about you online or threatening to share images?

    An abuser might share real or edited intimate pictures or video of you, or threaten to. This can be called “revenge porn” or intimate image abuse and it is a crime! You can get advice and support about this here – https://revengepornhelpline.org.uk

    They might make posts or comments about you online that are hurtful, untrue, or threatening. You have a right to be respected online.

    You can follow the steps in these guides to report the content on social media and take steps to secure your account.

    The abuser may try to harm you in other ways. You can reach out to our team for help.

  • Is your partner using smart home devices against you?

    If your partner or ex-partner is using home devices (such as smart speakers, cameras, connected thermostat, etc…) to monitor, harass or harm you, this is a form of abuse and it’s not OK. You have the right to privacy. You have the right to be safe and respected.

    Our Virtual Home Tour includes information about how home devices can be used against you and offers top tips for keeping them safe. If you’re concerned that these devices are compromised and need further support, you can reach out to Refuge for help – contact Refuge’s 24hr National Domestic Abuse Helpline (Freephone) on 0808 2000 247.

  • Glossary

    There are many different words used when talking about technology, and it can feel a little confusing or overwhelming.

    You have the right to understand the technology in your life!

    Consult this list to get some basic information about common technology terms.

Home Tech

A guide to keeping your home technology safe.
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