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The abuse of women via digital technology increasingly seen in domestic and family violence cases has prompted a new online training program for frontline professionals, including nurses, to arm them with the skills to help women harmed by the actions.

One in four Australian women has experienced emotional abuse from a current or former partner, while one in six Australian women has experienced violence at the hands of a current or former partner.

In many cases, technology is used to abuse, control and stalk.

The new online training, tailored to professions, includes a series of 10 modules covering topics such as identifying technology-facilitated abuse, steps to protect security and privacy, image-based abuse, safe social media and an overview of laws regarding actions in domestic violence situations.

Frontline professionals, including nurses, mental health practitioners, police, and social and support workers, are being encouraged to access the free training in order to better support women to feel safe and confident online.

Titled eSafetyWomen – online training for frontline workers, the comprehensive training was developed by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, a federal government initiative established in 2015 to coordinate and lead online safety efforts across government, industry and the not-for-profit sector.

“While the effects of technology-facilitated abuse may not always be visible, we know the impact can be just as devastating to a woman’s physical and psychological wellbeing and safety,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman said.

“It’s essential that professionals helping women in these situations have easy access to quality training to provide them with the confidence and skills they need to help women protect and empower themselves, and their families, online.”

The first substantial training program of its kind, eSafetyWomen – online training for frontline workers builds on education currently provided by the Office’s face-to-face workshop program, which began in 2016.

The program has already delivered face-to-face training about technology-facilitated abuse to 5,000 frontline workers nationally, with the latest development billed as an enhanced opportunity for professionals to explore issues in greater depth and hone the skills they require in their own time.

“Despite the prevalence of these issues, comprehensive training in this area has been hard to source and potentially difficult for time-poor frontline professionals to access,” Ms Inman said.

Of important note, however, is the emergence that health professionals are themselves not immune to the scourge of domestic and family violence.

A landmark Australian study released earlier this month examining the prevalence of domestic and family violence among female health professionals, including nurses and midwives, revealed nearly half have experienced violence during their lifetime and that one in 10 were abused by their partner in the past year.

Register for the eSafetyWomen online training here –