Smart devices – are they being exploited for domestic abuse?

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Smart devices – are they being exploited for domestic abuse?

The number of domestic abuses cases has soared since the UK went into lockdown, with smart devices playing a role in this. Perpetrators are using smart devices to stay in control of their victims. One victim stated that their partner would use the ‘Ring doorbell’ device from Amazon to track movements. This device triggers alerts when motion is detected and allows live footage to be viewed and accessed from any location. Another victim stated that their partner could track their location through their smartwatch, phone or I-pad. This victim realised just how little control they had over their lives and felt that they had to get out and leave the controlling environment they were experiencing.  

During the course of the pandemic, the abuse experienced by men has also increased. However, women are still more likely to experience domestic abuse. This is an issue of control; the perpetrator is the person that purchases the smart device and controls it, which allows them to have more control of the environment their victims are in, while also managing any smart device settings. 

The Law

An essential step in the right direction is a landmark domestic abuse bill that intends to make it illegal for modern technology to be used to track/spy/monitor partners. The legislation includes a statutory definition of domestic abuse that recognises controlling behaviour involving the use of smart technology. The legislation covers England and Wales and is expected to achieve Royal Assent in the coming months. 

If you have been affected by any issues mentioned above, such as domestic abuse, please contact us immediately. Stella Maris Solicitors LLP are expert Family Law Solicitors based in Swindon. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us via telephone on 01793 680053, or via email at

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