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Design Principles

Any solution for women and girls experiencing domestic abuse, or for survivors of domestic abuse, should be based on the following design principles as well as working towards the best practices outlined in the Principles for Digital Development and the UK Design Principles. They also recognise that technology will only be an effective solution if it provides connections to support services.

Note that Tech Vs Abuse 2.0 considers all people affected
by abuse, whilst Tech Vs Abuse 1.0 considered women and girls only.


Tech Vs Abuse Design Principles:


1 Safe and private

Safety must be the utmost priority in all aspects of the design and development of a digital solution. Organisations should have clear policies and processes around safeguarding, data protection and liability, particularly when people affected by domestic abuse are sharing personal information. Due consideration must be provided examining any potential consequences in the event of discovery or use by the perpetrator. The end result should be both discreet and sensitively promoted to maintain this priority.


2 Women's digital needs first

Digital solutions should start with women’s and girl’s’ digital needs and behaviours first and foremost, in the context of experiencing domestic abuse. They should provide women a choice over what they want. They should involve user research and consultation at all stages of design and development. They should provide connections to further support services and ensure these services have capacity to meet their needs.


3 Trustworthy

Solutions should go beyond ensuring compliance with data protection and privacy standards. There should be careful and due consideration upon how data and personal details are collected, reported and shared, both deliberately or accidentally by everyone involved.


4 Accessible and considering vulnerabilities

Any solution should be simple to use, easy to access and appropriate for women and girls experiencing domestic abuse. If used in a crisis situation, arising issues such as poor phone signal and running out of credit should be intrinsic to the design. Solutions must keep in mind different needs of marginalised and under-served communities, considering factors such as mobility, access and language. Visual imagery, colour, font size and audible options should be explored to improve accessibility. Developers should undertake testing in a range of contexts (including with LGBTI and BME communities) to ensure their suitability and relevance.


5 Testing and feedback

Solutions must be fully tested with people affected by domestic abuse, professionals and sector practitioners at every stage of the design and development process within ‘safe’ testing environments. Once launched, resources should be allocated for regular feedback and development. Technology must be developed in response to feedback, especially in cases of breach and danger.

6 Focused on key needs and diversity of experiences

Solutions should not be broad and generic but targeted at solving specific issues women have in staying safe. Solutions should acknowledge that women may be at different stages of an abusive relationship and that every journey is unique. They should not be based on assumptions that someone wants to leave a partner or their home. In addition, it might need to meet the needs of their friends and family, who search on their behalf.

7 Collaborative, scalable and replicable

Solutions must be produced in collaboration with key support agencies and sector infrastructure. They should take into consideration how other organisations can implement them, their connections to other sources of support and explore open source options.​


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