Tech Abuse is when abusers use technology against victims to monitor, threaten, harass, and hurt them. As our lives become more connected via technology this kind of abuse is increasing.
Abusers can use smart home devices to monitor and control, things like connecting to thermostats/ changing the temperature, turning lights or speakers on and off from an app or watching you on security cameras. Abuse can include having spyware in/on victims’ homes or phones. It can also include cyberstalking; when someone repeatedly sends harassing messages.
Abusers can impersonate victims on social media, humiliating them lying about them. They can add compromising/intimate photos or edit those already online. There have been reports of abusers giving children electronics that can reveal their location even after kids have fled with an abused parent.
In the United Kingdom, a landmark law passed on April 28, 2021, r makes it illegal to use technology to track or spy on partners or ex-partners, according to the BBC. The law specifically defines tech abuse, given its controlling and coercive nature, as a form of domestic abuse. It also gives police extra powers to respond to cases that involve tech abuse.
At STN we are here to support LGBTIQ+ People who experience domestic abuse.
Abuse doesn’t know gender or race.
We know that reducing the barriers to reporting violence and accessing support services, plus creating safe and inclusive experiences for LGBTIQ+ domestic violence victims and survivors is essential. For the most part domestic violence services assist people based on their gender and sexuallyty. LGBTIQ+ victims face all the same barriers as anyone experiencing domestic abuse. However, they face multiple additional barriers to receiving help, as well. These include being ‘outed’ telling people that an individual is LGBTIQ+ thereby taking their choice away. Fear of the social impact of reporting domestic violence, Fear of homophobic transphobic or other damaging reactions from organisations and individuals who are in a position of authority
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are also at a significantley higher risk from honor-based abuse as their identity may be perceived as somehow deviant by their families and therefore indicative of dishonour or shame. This will leave them at a higher risk of abuse and violence and in greater fear of reporting incidents to the police
Galop’s helpline is run by LGBT+, for LGBT+ people who have or are experiencing domestic abuse. It’s also for people supporting a survivor of domestic abuse; friends, families and those working with a survivor. It’s free and accessible through phone, webchat and chatbot.
For some families, their reputation and place in the community is so important to them that they are willing to hurt those whose behavior they believe damages their family honor or social status in some way. Honour-based violence is most frequently aimed at women and girls. However, males are especially at risk of becoming a target for honour-based violence if they have a relationship with a partner whose family perceive the relationship to be a cause of shame. This might include an LGBT relationship, dating or having physical relations outside of marriage or dating outside of the class, caste, religion, or ethnicity the family approves of.
It is not uncommon for honour violence to be perpetrated by those closest to them e.g. immediate and extended family members. This can be either by them being a direct perpetrator of the abuse, or an indirect perpetrator by ignoring the violence, failing to protect the victim, or not making a report to authorities.
Honour-based violence can affect people of any age, though adolescents are often highly vulnerable to becoming victims. Adolescence is a time where bodies are developing, hormones are raging and traits of perceived ‘rebellion’ are often observed. Abuse will often begin in the family home. It is important to remember honour-based violence can also be linked to child abuse, spousal abuse and elder abuse, as the cycle of violence goes unchecked and perpetuates. Victims will often be abused on multiple occasions, sometimes by multiple perpetrators
In any kind of domestic abuse situation, it is never the victim’s fault. Perpetrators of abuse, including honour-based violence, are choosing to react the way they do and there is never any justification for this.
Honour-based abuse is a when a crime is committed to protect or defend the ‘honour’ of a family or community. Some examples of honour-based abuse are:
Any form of domestic abuse or sexual violence.
Any forms of honour-based abuse or harmful practices are illegal, including forced marriage and female genital mutilation. ‘Crimes of honour’ should be treated as a violation of human rights and not as a religious or cultural practice.
There have been examples in the media of girls being forcibly removed from their lives in the UK and sent abroad to get married to someone they do not know, or even killed by their parents. It is important to remember that honour-based violence can also be more subtle, especially at first, and thus less easy to identify. It is important to note that all the control, coercion, psychological abuse which is attributed to domestic violence can take place in the guise of honor-based violence including:
Forced marriage (FM) and female genital mutilation (FGM) are illegal in the UK and there is specific legislation regarding both that has been written into law.
Often people within the communities where honour-based abuse is taking place do not speak up against it and this allows the cycle of violence to continue.
Some families force their children to marry because they believe it’s an important part of religion or culture. Families may feel pressured by family and or community to follow traditions and be worried about their reputation. honour and social standing in the community if they go against the practice. Keeping the family and their finances together can be used as a reason for forced marriage or wanting to marry their children for money. For LGBT+ people, forced marriage is often a form of honour-based abuse. It can be used by families and communities to control someone’s sexuality and/or gender identity. None of these reasons are okay. And nobody has the right to force you into marriage. Forced marriage is illegal in the UK.
If you or someone that you know is a victim of honour-based abuse, contact one of the many organisations out there that are trained to help.
Karma Nirvana is a registered charity in the UK, dedicated to helping victims of forced marriage and honour-based crime. Call them for free on 0800 5999 247.
There are specialist organisations led by women in the community who have a cultural understanding of the complexities of honour and shame.
For further support:
Karma Nirvana is a national organisation which provides support for women who are at risk of or who are experiencing honour-based abuse or forced marriage. You can call the Honour-Based Abuse Helpline if you need help or advice for free on 0800 5999 247.
IKWRO provide advice, support, advocacy in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Dari, Pashto, Farsi, and English to women and girls facing forced marriage, child marriage, female genital mutilation, and ‘honour’-based violence. If you need help or advice, please call: 0207 920 646
True Honour also offer advice and support to victims of all types of honour-based violence. They can be contacted by phone on 07480 6217110 or email at email@example.com
Refuge have been providing help and support to women and children escaping from domestic abuse since 1971. They have support and outreach services available for victims of domestic violence, stalking, rape, FGM and honour-based abuse. Their free helpline is open 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.
In an emergency situation or if someone is in immediate danger, call the police on 999, or to report concerns or a non-emergency situation, call 101.
A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with reduced capacity, cannot) consent to the marriage as they are pressurised, or abuse is used to force the marriage to take place. It can happen either in the UK or abroad.
The pressure used to marry against their will can take many forms including.
It’s important to remember that consenting to marriage because you were afraid or under pressure does not mean that you really consented to it.
Forced marriage is different to arranged marriage, where a family member or designated person are involved in choosing a partner. Arranged marriages take place with the consent of both people, while forced marriage is against the will of one or both people.
If you are worried that you are going to be forced into marriage when you are abroad, contact Karma Nirvana’s helpline on 0800 5999 247. They will be able to give you up-to-date advice.
If you are trying to stop a forced marriage or need help leaving a marriage you have been forced into, the Forced Marriage Unit can support you. You can also contact the Forced Marriage Helpline for information and options if you are being forced or pressured into sponsoring a spouse visa. They are contactable on firstname.lastname@example.org, Telephone: 020 7008 0151. From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, Out of hours: 020 7008 5000. The FMU has also produced a Forced marriage survivor’s handbook.
The World Health Organisation describes FGM as is a traditional harmful practice that involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the countries where the practice is concentrated. In addition, every year an estimated 3 million girls are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation, the majority of whom are cut before they turn 15 years old.
FGM has no health benefits. It can lead to immediate health risks, as well as long-term complications to women’s physical, mental, and sexual health and well-being.
The practice is recognized internationally as a violation of human rights of girls and women and as an extreme form of gender discrimination, reflecting deep-rooted inequality between the sexes.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure performed on a woman or girl to partially or fully remove her external genitalia, or to damage or change her genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is very painful and can have serious health impacts on women and girls, including constant pain, problems with sex, childbirth and mental health. It can be life-threatening as it is often carried out by a non-professional.
It is a criminal offence to perform or assist in performing FGM in the UK, or to take a woman or girl abroad for the procedure. It is also illegal to help or pressure a girl to carry out FGM on herself, and to fail to protect a girl from risk of FGM. There are also laws about FGM taking place abroad. You can find more information about FGM on the NHS website.
IKWRO provide advice, support, advocacy in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Dari, Pashto, Farsi, and English to women and girls facing forced marriage, child marriage, female genital mutilation, and ‘honour’-based violence. If you need help or advice, please call: 0207 920 6460.