With the growth in technology since the Revenge Porn Helpline was established in 2015, the Helpline has witnessed changes in how abuse and intimate image abuse, specifically, is perpetrated and experienced. Today, technology makes some new forms of abuse easier, instantaneous, and harder to detect.
Dr Antoinette Huber and Professor Barry Godfrey are completing a research project at the University of Liverpool, which aims to uncover the nature of digital coercive control by examining current police responses and identifying areas of improvement.
Dr Antoinette Huber explains:
Recent research has uncovered the intersections between forms of domestic abuse and technology. However, police officers have reported a lack of understanding in this area.
The Revenge Porn Helpline are keen to support this area of research to better equip police officers dealing with these crimes in the future.
The study, which will run until June 2024, aims to fill the knowledge gap by investigating the nature of digital and electronic coercive control, and policing response from the perspective of people who have experienced this abuse. This firsthand knowledge will provide unique insight into what constitutes effective practice. This will then be embedded in police training to upskill officers and help support anyone affected.
The research team for this project are looking to speak with anyone who has lived experience of digital coercive control, which includes any abuse facilitated by technology, including intimate image abuse. This also includes:
- Harassment on social media.
- Stalking using GPS data.
- Clandestine and conspicuous audio and visual recording.
- Threats via SMS.
- Monitoring email.
- Accessing accounts without permission.
- Impersonating a partner.
- Publishing private information (‘doxing’) or sexualised content without consent.
Researchers are keen to discuss experiences regardless of whether participants have made a report to the police, as understanding the nature of such abuse is a vital part of the project.
If you would like to participate in the study by sharing your experiences with the research team or would like more information about the study, please contact Antoinette Huber by emailing email@example.com.
Participation will remain confidential and anonymous. If you are unsure if your experiences fall within the study's remit, you are welcome to contact the project and they will be happy to discuss this with you.
If you have been affected by intimate image abuse, you can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline by phone, email, or through our anonymous 24/7 contact methods. The Helpline is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm.
To get in touch with the Helpline, you can call 0345 6000 459, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For anonymous and 24/7 reporting, you can use our chatbot or Whisper form.