Week Without Violence (October 15th to 21st) Spotlights Digital Abuse

Instead of communicating face-to-face or over the phone, many people now rely on texting, messaging and other forms of social media to communicate and connect with each other.

As our relationships have moved online, unfortunately so have forms of digital abuse and violence.

During this year's Week Without Violence (October 15th to 21st), the YWCA of Peterborough, Victoria & Haliburton, the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service and community partners want to ensure parents and young people are aware of digital abuse and provide resources to promote a healthy relationship. The theme for this year’s Week Without Violence is "Healthy Relationships Everywhere!" and that means relationships both on and offline.

Digital abuse is the use of technology and social networking to bully, harass, control, stalk or intimidate another person or a partner. You may be experiencing digital abuse if your partner does the following:

* Constantly texts you asking who you are with and what you’re doing and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone
* Tells you who you can and can’t be friends with online
* Sends you negative, insulting or threatening emails, tweets, texts, DMs (direct messaging) or other messages online
* Uses sites like Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter to keep tabs on you
* Puts you down in their status updates
* Pressures you to send explicit video or pictures
* Steals or insists on being given your passwords
* Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls

"We want our relationships to contribute to our sense of self worth and self confidence," says Lynn Zimmer, Executive Director, YWCA Peterborough, Victoria and Haliburton. "Regardless of the medium, when someone is controlling, hurtful or abusive, we need to get help. Our community is full of wonderful resources to help educate both parents and young people to the signs of an abusive relationship."

“Criminal harassment comes in all shapes and forms, including harassment through text messages,” says Constable Craig Ralph, with the Community Services Division of the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service. "As Community Services Officers, we work closely with all Peterborough and Lakefield schools to provide support and resources to help educate young people on safe online behaviour and what constitutes abuse."

For further information and resources, click here and here.

Tip us at tips@ptbocanada.com. Follow us on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada (hashtag #bethechangeptbo) or Like us on Facebook.