70 per cent of female teenage mental abuse victims targeted via mobile

70 per cent of female teenage mental abuse victims were targeted via mobile, shocking statistics reveal

  • 714 girls aged between 16 and 19 referred to Refuge between 2019 and 2020
  • Of those, 70 per cent said they had been targeted for abuse via mobile or laptop 
  • Charity bosses warn a growing number of abusers are targeting people online 

Almost70 per cent of teenage girls receiving help for psychological abuse were targeted through smartphones or tablets, shocking new statistics reveal.

Experts have warned of the ‘growing opportunity’ for abusers to use technology, with increasing numbers of young women being referred to domestic abuse charities.

Emma Pickering, tech abuse team manager at domestic violence charity Refuge, said: ‘Young people have more devices, more accounts, so there are more options for a perpetrator.’

Almost 70 per cent of women referred to abuse charity Refuge between 2019 and 2020 were targeted using smartphones and tablets (file image)

Between 2019 and 2020, 714 girls aged 16 to 19 were referred to Refuge, with 70 per cent of them suffering psychological or emotional abuse.

In 68 per cent of those cases, the perpetrator – overwhelmingly husbands or boyfriends – had used technology.

Young women are under pressure to share passwords and account details ‘to prove trust in a relationship’.

Suzy, an 18-year-old university student, described on a podcast how her abusive boyfriend would constantly monitor or even take her phone.

‘He’d freak out about something and I’d show him my phone to prove him wrong and then he’d just go through it,’ she told You Don’t Know Me.

Her boyfriend attacked her when she refused to hand over her phone.

Refuge chief executive Ruth Davison said: ‘It’s very common for teenagers’ relationships to play out, at least in part, online and this is giving perpetrators growing opportunities to use technology to abuse and harm.’

The Home Office said: ‘The new statutory definition of domestic abuse now specifically recognises psychological abuse as a form of domestic abuse, and captures a range of different behaviours, including abuse through technology.’

Charity workers warn that increasing the number of social accounts a person has online increases the opportunities for abuse (file image)

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