Why does WESNET work with technology companies?
WESNET advises technology companies to ensure that their services and products take into consideration the experiences of survivors of violence using their platforms and to help them understand how abusers commit abusive behaviours via their platforms.
We work with technology companies because we have the expertise around the intersection of technology and violence against women that we believe is vital for the technology industry to understand and embed.
Technology has a major impact in the lives of survivors. It is often misused by abusive partners and perpetrators against victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking. However, technology is also crucial for most Australians as part of everyday life, and asking survivors to get off technology just further disadvantages survivors. Technology, in its various forms, offers essential tools victims can use to access help, strategically maintain safety and privacy, and remain connected to family and friends. It can also be used to prove guilt and hold offenders accountable. For women and girls in particular, to achieve gender and social equality, they must have full, affordable safe access to technology.
WESNET sees women’s access to technology and the internet as a human right and crucial for gender and social equality.
Through WESNET’s advocacy, technology companies:
- gain a deeper understanding of how these unacceptable behaviours occur on their platforms
- develop policies that hold abusers accountable when they misuse the platform to harm
- develop policies that provide better mechanisms for survivors to report abusive behaviours
- update their platforms to make it more difficult for abusers to misuse
- educate users on how to use their platforms more safely, with greater understanding of privacy and security settings.
Who will we work with?
WESNET is committed to working with corporate companies that are implementing strategies and programs to address the elimination of gender-based violence against women and girls, or which demonstrate a genuine interest in improving their platforms / services in a way that reduces or eliminates harm and violence against women.
WESNET will work proactively with corporate companies we collaborate with to remedy any issues that may compromise WESNET’s values and support their work to eliminate violence against women and girls and work towards gender and social equality. We will call out a corporate company on these issues if we deem it necessary. We will also promote the good work they do on these issues as appropriate.
Why does WESNET take money from technology companies?
WESNET believes that technology companies play a significant role in keeping women safe – from how they design and build their technology, to the policies they implement, to how they work with stakeholders and partners, and to how they respond to and educate their users. We offer expert advice to them, bringing them the voices and experiences of the domestic and family violence sector and survivors. WESNET expects to be resourced to undertake this work by the relevant corporate companies.
The money that technology companies provide in the form of sponsorships and other grants offset the staff time spent on advising them and other important work that WESNET undertakes, such as the Annual Technology Safety Summit. The Technology Safety Summit is a space for front-line service providers to gain deeper understandings of how technology-facilitated abuse impact survivors, how abusers misuse technology, and how service providers can address these issues. Without the sponsorships from technology companies, WESNET would be unable to hold the Technology Safety Summit without passing the full costs onto registrants. Feedback from our members indicate that they consider the Technology Safety Summit to be a critical support for their work on the ground helping victim/survivors stay safer.
Disclaimer: Receiving funds from any organisation, private or government, does not mean we endorse all that that entity does.
Whilst we work with corporate companies, governments and other non-government organisations, WESNET always maintains an independent voice for women and their children and we will advocate without fear or favour.