The Pentagon is raising awareness of technology-facilitated domestic abuse as part of this month’s Domestic Violence Prevention Month campaign, a DOD feature article reported last week.
The campaign’s tagline, Mobilize Help for Safer Relationships, aims to alert the military community that domestic abuse can happen across many communication platforms, according to the article.
Technology-facilitated domestic abuse is increasingly common and a majority of civilian domestic violence agencies provided technology-specific advocacy and services for victims in 2018.
Abuse such as texting and use of social media to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate, also includes monitoring and stalking behaviors where a partner “keeps tabs” on the location, activities and social communications of another through apps, spyware or malware, the article said.
The right to safety and respect from a partner remains fundamental and unhealthy behavior that violates trust, is disrespectful, or makes one feel unsafe, is abuse regardless of technology use or some other form of communication, according to the article.
“Treating others with dignity and respect is the department’s grounding expectation for our military members,” said A.T. Johnston, deputy assistant defense secretary for Military Community and Family Policy. “We expect this standard of conduct whether in the field or the home and do not tolerate abusive behaviors of any kind,” she added.
Military One Source has relationship guidance on setting healthy boundaries with technology or the military community can reach local installation Family Advocacy Programs. The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 is also available for immediate support, or visit thehotline.org to live chat, the article advises.
DOD is committed to preventing and responding to domestic abuse and intimate partner violence and the Family Advocacy Program works to prevent abuse through outreach campaigns promoting support for victims and evidence-informed programs to build skills essential for healthy relationships, according to the article.
The program’s priority is safety for military community individuals and families who may be at risk for or experience abuse. It also works with individuals to teach critical thinking and interaction skills that change attitudes and behaviors to keep relationships violence free, the article reports.