Many clients report to us that their former partner has installed tracking devices on their phones and devices or hacked into their social media accounts. Here is some advice on how to protect your client or yourself from cyber-stalking.
This is sadly a common complaint of women who experience coercion and control in their intimate partner relationships and too frequently reported in criminal proceedings following the death of a domestic violence victim or cases such as Hannah Clarke and Lisa Harnum.
New research conducted by the Molly Dragiewicz and Bridget Harris from Queensland University of Technology in a study funded by the Australian Communications and Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) found that 100% of survivors abused by an intimate partner reported tech abuse began or escalated at separation.
The most common types of abuse reported were repetitive texting, emailing, GPS, cloud and Facebook monitoring. This was especially an issue for those navigating arrangements for children post-separation.
Incidents of technology facilitated abuse are potentially Commonwealth carriage offences and offences under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 in New South Wales and should be reported to Police. Stalking, harassment and intimidation can result in Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders or be breaches of those Orders once made which is a criminal offence.
Frequent assistance is required to check privacy settings, organise replacement devices and prevent hidden tracking. Steps clients can take to secure their devices and reduce the risks include:
 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-21/brisbane-car-fire-hannah-clarke-rowan-baxter-family-violence/11985024; https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/camp-hill-car-fire-family-say-hannah-clarke-sacrificed-everything-for-her-children/fe2d7a20-5f55-4fed-8e73-4a3feb214040
 R v Gittany (No 5)  NSWSC 49 https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/54a63cd63004de94513db88a
 Dragiewicz, M., Harris, B., Woodlock, D., Salter, M., Easton, H., Lynch, A., Campbell, H., Leach, J. & Milne, L., (2019). Domestic violence and communication technology: Survivor experiences of intrusion, surveillance, and identity crime, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney. http://accan.org.au/files/Grants/Domestic%20violence%20and%20communication%20technology%20Survivor%20experience%20of%20intrusion%20surveillance%20and%20identity%20crime.pdf