Digital Domestic Abuse Dangers - Are You At Risk? - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Digital Domestic Abuse Dangers - Are You At Risk?

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FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) - There's a new type of domestic violence called "Digital Abuse." It's when a person uses a phone, tablet, or computer to control and intimidate the other person in the relationship.

Brittny says her ex-boyfriend was relentless while constantly calling and sending her text messages. She says he was trying to monitor her every move.

"I was always fearful of not answering my phone when he called and not responding to his text messages," says Brittny.

After months of high–tech harassment, Brittny, who asked that we not use her last name, says she realized she was a victim of "Digital Domestic Abuse". It's a new problem Psychiatrist Gail Saltz says is growing.

"Sadly people are using digital technology to exert their power, their influence, and control 24/7," says Psychiatrist Gail Saltz.

Saltz says digital abuse goes beyond constant phone calls and text messages. At the National Domestic Violence Hotline many callers say their partner's smartphone and social media surveillance is increasing.

"They're reporting things that range from constantly checking to what they're posting on social media and asking for passwords," says Katie Ray-Jones from the 'National Domestic Violence Hotline',
"To more extreme cases where partners create fake identifies on Facebook to see if they can get their partner to engage with someone else. The partner then accuses their significant other of cheating and flirting in appropriately."


With so many people constantly plugged in, recognizing a problem can be difficult. However, the President of the 'National Domestic Violence' hotline says that normal behavior can turn to obsession. So, it's important to recognize warning signs.

"Extreme jealousy, monitoring, and isolation are red flags," says Ray-Jones.

Doctor Saltz says what's even more troubling is that digital abuse can turn dangerous.

"People of all ages are vulnerable to the use of digital technology to basically be abusive and that abuse that starts in that way can often lead to direct to physical abuse," adds Dr. Saltz.

Brittny says when her ex–boyfriend's digital abuse became physical she ended the relationship.

Now she warns others who are in similar situations to get help right away.

"When I was going through this I felt like I was completely alone," says Brittny," I didn't tell anybody about what was happening."

Cyber-crime specialists warn that digital abusers can also watch their partners through certain apps.

The apps monitor people locations through their phone's GPS.

For more information on how to tell if you're in a digitally abusive relationship and advice on how to deal with it go to this website. http://www.loveisrespect.org/is–this–abuse/types–of–abuse/what–is–digital–abuse
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