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Technology and Abuse in Later Life

Technology is an invaluable resource for older survivors.  Individuals may use the Internet, for example, to find support and cope with issues of abuse in later life. Yet, abusers can misuse technology as a tactic of abuse, which can be dangerous and potentially lethal. 

In December 2014, with help from Disability Rights Wisconsin, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin and the Safety Net Project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, NCALL released this toolkit for older adults with two goals in mind: to provide information about common technologies, including assistive technology, and to identify ways older adults can safeguard themselves from those who misuse technology to control, harass, stalk, and/or threaten them. The toolkit contains the following:

1. Tech 101: Frequently Used Terminology – a glossary of tech terms, many of which are referenced in the toolkit.

2. Tech Tips for Older Adults: Tech Safety – a general overview of computer, cell phone and Internet safety.

3. Tech Tips for Older Adults: Online Privacy & Safety – An overview of the importance of online privacy and strategies for maintaining privacy and safety online.

4. Technology and Abuse in Later Life  – An overview of the ways abusers misuse technology within the context of abuse in later life.

5. Assistive Technology – An overview of assistive technology, including what it is, who uses it and resources for finding out more about assistive technology.

6. Examples of Assistive Technology – An overview of assistive technologies for individuals who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, have speech disabilities, are blind or have low vision, or have physical, motor or communication disabilities.

7. Assistive Technology and Abuse in Later Life – A general overview of the ways abusers may misuse assistive technologies to cause harm. 

8. Resources – A list of selected resources related to technology and technology safety. 



Other Selected Resources

  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV): Safety & Privacy in a Digital World
    This Special Collection provides information and resources to support the safety and privacy of those who may or do experience technology-assisted abuse. It reviews the ways in which technology can be misused by perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking to harass, threaten, coerce, surveille, exploit, and violate their victim(s). It offers tips for enhancing data security and personal privacy online, on computers and networks, and in public records and databases. The collection also explores considerations for advocates and organizations serving survivors of abuse, including advocacy tips, security and privacy protections for programs, and online presence and services.
  • National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Stay Safe Online
    NCSA's mission is to educate and therefore empower a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work, and school. Includes information and teaching materials, plus tipsheets for adults, children, students, businesses and employees.
  • Stalking Resource Center, a program of The National Center for Victims of Crime
    The mission of the Stalking Resource Center is to enhance the ability of professionals, organizations, and systems to effectively respond to stalking. The Stalking Resource Center envisions a future in which the criminal justice system and its many allied community partners will have the best tools to effectively collaborate and respond to stalking, improve victim safety and well-being, and hold offenders accountable.