Canadian women’s shelter launches ‘high tech abuse’ awareness campaign

Watch the video above: “New commercial highlights the high tech side of abuse” by Global News’ Marianne Dimain

TORONTO – In a video purposefully reminiscent of an ad for the latest smartphone on the market, with light-hearted music playing in the background, a male narrator introduces the phone’s “features.”

“With our new phone, you can see who she’s called, who she’s seen, how she spends your money, if she eats what she’s told.”

It continues: “It can even tell you when that lying b***h isn’t at the grocery store like she said she’d be – so you can make her pay for it later.”

The public service announcement, launched by Interval House – Canada’s first centre for abused women and children – ends the video with their message, “The technology has changed. The problem hasn’t.”

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Interval House is hoping to bring awareness to a new form of domestic abuse, saying smartphones are another way that abusers exert control over their victims.

The so-called “high tech abuse” can take the form of reading text messages and emails, checking call logs to see where someone has been and who they’ve been talking to.

“They can find you wherever you are, they can ask you to Skype with them, take a picture where you are and send it to them, it’s constantly being controlled through the technology,” said Lesley Ackrill, Interval House’s executive co-director.

According to Statistics Canada, on any given day in Canada over 3,000 women are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.

StatsCan said that in 2008, there were 569 shelters across Canada.

In 2009, the latest data on the issue, StatsCan said only 22 per cent of the victims of spousal violence reported it to the police. Nearly one in five Canadians said they had experienced some form of emotional or financial abuse, with insults and name-calling being the most common form.

*With files from Global News’ Marianne Dimain

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