News | Press Release

24 April 2023

 Refuge shares scale of technology-facilitated abuse following government’s Emergency Alerts System test

Refuge shares scale of technology-facilitated abuse following government’s Emergency Alerts System test

Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said:

“The issue of technology-facilitated abuse is one which we at Refuge see growing year on year. Refuge is the only frontline service which has a specialist team to support women experiencing this insidious and complex form of abuse, and we are concerned about the increasingly intricate ways that technology is being used to cause harm. Of the women and their children Refuge supported in 2020-21, 59% experienced abuse involving technology, and the number of survivors our specialist team has supported has risen by 258% between 2018 and 2022. This is why survivors may choose to have a secondary phone, or why our services distribute them – survivors need a safe device to receive support on.

“I want to be clear – abuse is always a choice a perpetrator makes. Abuse doesn’t happen because a phone makes a noise. Abusers are motivated by exerting power and control over their partner or ex-partner, and technology-facilitated abuse is just one of many ways they can do this.

“The impact that tech-facilitated abuse has on survivors is severe. We know that it can have a serious impact on their mental health, can leave them fearing for their physical safety and can harm their income and businesses. Many survivors we support are left not trusting technology, which can be incredibly isolating for them, given the role technology plays in our everyday lives. That’s why it’s important that we empower survivors to use technology safety and ensure that they’re not forced offline.

“We, alongside sector partners, have been campaigning hard to see a VAWG Code of Practice included in the Online Safety Bill. A Code would be a straightforward way to ensure social media companies respond to and work to prevent abuse being perpetrated on their platforms. Action is needed now to protect women and girls.

“If you are concerned your devices are unsafe or that you’re experiencing tech abuse, you can visit Refuge’s tech safety website at or access free and confidential support from Refuge’s 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 and digital support via live chat Monday-Friday 3-10pm via”