How can tech
help address abuse?
In 2016, we undertook a collaborative research study about the use of digital tools to support people affected by abuse.
In 2019, we set out to build on, explore and update these original findings and produced the ‘Tech vs Abuse 2.0’ research findings report.
In order to support the sector to respond to the research findings and key challenges, Comic Relief set up the Tech Vs Abuse grants initiative.
The second round of the funding programme opened for applications in June 2019, and is funded jointly with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Clothworkers' Foundation. This supported 11 organisations, including collaborations, until December 2020 to develop their digital products.
Tech vs Abuse 2.0
‘Tech vs Abuse 2.0’ is a collaborative research project undertaken by Think Social Tech, Snook, and SafeLives, commissioned by Comic Relief, in partnership with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and the Clothworkers Foundation.
This sector-focused discovery research set out to explore common priorities, problems, and opportunities to better support those affected by abuse today. This involved interviewing practitioners and co-designing the fund with organisations in the domestic and sexual abuse sector with a keen interest in developing and delivering digital services. Its aim was to find out how the landscape has developed since undertaking the original research in 2016 (by Snook, Chayn, and SafeLives), and what those organisations felt were the priorities for using technology more effectively in the context of delivering support to victims and survivors.
Based upon the Tech vs Abuse 2.0 findings, the research team - in consultation with the research participants and the funders - have created four key design challenges. These have been prioritised based on the research with practitioners in the sector, a review of the extensive research done in 2016, and by reflecting on what has changed since then. The challenges have evolved slightly from
the 5 that were set out in Tech Vs Abuse 1.0.
Tech vs Abuse 1.0
In 2016, four organisations worked together to find out what role digital technologies can play in helping to support people affected by domestic abuse.
We spoke to over 250 people affected by domestic abuse and to 350 support workers who help them, to see where digital could help. They also looked for every example where helpful technology already exists. This site documents the research findings and the design challenges we created to ensure the most immediate difference to people affected by domestic abuse.
Tech vs Abuse funding
The Tech vs Abuse grant initiative supported 10 organisations after the initial 2016-17 research to develop digital products and services which play a supportive role in the context of domestic violence and abuse, whilst minimising the associated risks.
7 of the 10 original grantee organisations below went on to receive additional, extension funding from Comic Relief in 2018-19 after the initial 12 month period.
Themes from our research
How can we help people understand when what's happening to them is abuse?
How can we get helpful advice and information into the hands of people affected by abuse?
What's the role of technology when people hit crisis point?
What can we offer that would help people protect themselves from abuse?
How can technology connect people with professionals and people who've been there?
Snapshots of some findings
Your abuser is watching every move you do, and asking to see your phone/laptop so it is really hard to do any searches or contact people
Domestic abuse survivor
Latest from the project
Facts about domestic violence
people in the UK are at high risk of being murdered or seriously injured as a result of domestic abuse
victims sought help five times on average from professionals in the year before they got effective help to stop the abuse
people suffer some form of domestic abuse each year in England and Wales
women are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales every month