While technology can be a powerful tool for victims of domestic violence
to ask for help, get information and stay in touch with support
networks; in an increasingly digitally connected society, technology has
also extended the reach of abusers. Women's Refuge is increasingly
seeing abusers use a phone's GPS location to track their victims, obtain
their victim's email or banking passwords, even checking their web
browser history to monitor them. This means that it is now harder than
ever for those looking for help and information to reach out and find it
The Shielded Site is an expandable iFrame that can sit
on any host website and contains vital information a victim can use to
ask for help, keep themselves safe, or plan for a future free from
violence. The site itself never appears in a user's browser history,
adding a level of safety while they access the information they need. By
appearing on multiple sites across the internet the application is
intended to be a discreet tool for a user to find information, in the
form of a smaller viewport and without the need to directly visit The
Women's Refuge website. It also allows businesses to display their
support for victims of Domestic Violence.
ASB Bank, The
Warehouse, Sorted, Z Energy and Saatchi & Saatchi are amongst the
first New Zealand organisations and websites to support the initiative
by adding the tab to their site.
The Shielded Site will be hosted
by ASB Bank so users can feel safe in the knowledge that they are in a
secure environment. Contact details received through the site are sent
directly to Women's Refuge securely and without being stored. ASB has
also committed to sponsoring the ongoing hosting of the site, meaning
that any business or website in New Zealand can safely and accessibly
add the tab to their site.
ASB general manager digital Fiona
Colgan says ASB is proud to support the Shielded Site initiative with
the tab on its website, and to provide site hosting to enable other
companies to join.
Says Colgan: "This is a positive initiative
and we are delighted to get behind it. If we can help even one woman to
reach out in a safe way to get support, it's been a success.
encourage more New Zealand businesses to join us and create a place of
refuge on their websites. To truly make this effective, the Shielded
Site needs to be everywhere, and in the places people would visit in the
course of a typical day."
The Shielded Site has been in
development over the past 18 months as Women's Refuge worked with
Saatchi & Saatchi to find a robust way to safely reach people
online. Earlier this year, they launched a beta version with The
Warehouse, who have since been helping to test and refine the design.
Dr Ang Jury, CEO of Women's Refuge: "On average, just over 500 people a
month look for advice and help through our website. The most dangerous
time in a relationship is when a victim is planning on leaving, or
immediately after they've left; so being able to assist people to do
this discretely and safely will mean more people can access help and
"Coming into the Christmas period, we know the
numbers for family violence will increase dramatically. Last year over
the holiday period (15th Dec to 15th Jan), over 6,000 Women and children
across Aotearoa needed our services.
"If you are, or think you
might be experiencing abuse in your relationship and being monitored
online, look for the logo on any of the partnering business' sites to
launch a shielded version of the Women's Refuge site.
to thank The Warehouse, ASB and our other launch partners for helping us
get this initiative off the ground. We hope others will follow their
lead and add the tab to their site, making more places of refuge. Our
ultimate goal is for every website in New Zealand to contain a Shielded
Site. To find out how you can do this, visit shielded.co.nz