Thursday, 17 March 2016 12:08

Telstra helping women impacted by domestic violence with 20,000 smartphones

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Telstra, the Federal Government and Women’s Services Network (WESNET) have announced ‘an expansion of the Safe Connections program, providing up to 20,000 safe smartphones over three years for women experiencing domestic violence.’

Speaking at the National Family Violence Summit, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull congratulated Telstra on the expansion, part of the Federal Government’s Safe Phones initiative in its Women’s Safety Package.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said Telstra was committed to helping women and children stay safely connected.

Penn said: “I am a technology optimist and that is why I am so proud Telstra is part of the Safe Connections program.

“Safe Connections is about empowering women impacted by domestic violence and we know first-hand from our partnership with WESNET that this program makes a real difference.

“Technology, especially a mobile phone, is now a major part of everyday life.

”It is vitally important anyone in a domestic violence situation has access to safe, secure communications so they can stay connected with family and friends at a time when they need to most.

”It is also critical women are aware telephone, surveillance and computer technologies are increasingly being used to monitor and harass victims and what to do about it.”

WESNET National Chair Julie Oberin said the smartphones provided by Telstra would be distributed by trained specialist domestic violence support workers who would help impacted women understand how to use them safely and to control their privacy and security settings.

Oberon said: “We want women to be able to embrace the technology that is available to help them and to understand how stalkers can misuse these new resources to harass, alarm, intimidate, coerce and monitor their partners.

“We also want them to know how to use technology to collect evidence for police and courts against the perpetrator. This is really important. Simple screen shots of abusive messages with dates are important evidence.”

In partnership with WESNET, Telstra said it’s original commitment of 5,000 smartphones over three years now increases to 20,000 and will also include $30 pre-paid starter kits and technology safety information.

Must-read info below, please read on.

Safe Connections is an initiative under Telstra’s ‘Everyone Connected’ program, which includes work with community organisations aimed at addressing the communications needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians.

Telstra also noted it is also a proud supporter and accredited workplace of White Ribbon, a male-led campaign to end men’s violence against women.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence:

  • In an emergency call the police on 000
  • Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) to speak with a trained counsellor from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Counselling Service
  • Access online counselling at 1800respect.org.au

6 Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Mobile Phone

1. KNOW THE BASICS

Use private web browsing so pages you visit don’t appear in your history
Create a strong, easy-to-remember passphrase for each of your accounts
Don’t allow your device to remember passwords/passphrases or sign-in to accounts automatically, and keep log-in details to all of your accounts safe
Auto-lock your mobile device with a passcod

2. MINIMISE LOCATION SHARING

3. KEEP SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVATE

4. LOG OUT OF ACCOUNTS

5. CHECK FOR SPYWARE

6. USE TWO-STEP (TWO-FACTOR) LOG-IN

Telstra has some 'Personal Mobile Safety' resources here, while WESNET's resources are here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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