IT, online social networks and websites that provide help and advice play a huge part in the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged women and children who are living with domestic abuse. But there are inherent risks involved in using the internet – and these can be even more dangerous to some web users than others...
Fylde Coast Women’s Aid (FCWA) is an independent voluntary sector organisation with years of experience of providing essential services to women and children who have experienced violence and abuse. With two women being killed by their partners or ex-partners each week in the UK, the organisation has launched a project to raise awareness among women and children of the need for safe internet use.
Reducing potential risks
The FCWA Social Media Safety Project aims to educate women, children and young people who are living with domestic violence about the potential hazards of using of the internet and social media sites when in refuge. Encouraging them to use the internet safely will help to significantly reduce the risks they face.
Something as innocent and simple as a status update, for example, can give away a vulnerable person’s location and increase the risk of further domestic abuse and exposure to violent individuals.
Safer social media use
As well as working with women, the organisation also plans to use social media and the internet to increase the safety of children and young people who are in refuge. It wants to provide more opportunities for them to access help, support and information via the internet.
It will do this by addressing the ‘dangers’ and issues created through social media over-exposure while also examining the social isolation they face. The sessions will address positive relationships with others through the use of social media and provide education to young people about accessing relevant, safe and informative web pages.