UK organization, the Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service, reported a 50 percent increase in reports of stalking between March and June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Interviews with Paladin staff and clients reported that stalkers had changed their stalking behaviour during the pandemic. Their clients reported more technology-facilitated stalking and abuse by their stalkers, including increases in intimate images being distributed without their consent and fake social media profiles being used to impersonate them.
As women are required to rely more on online services and communication tools, their stalkers have additional avenues for perpetrating their online abuse. One woman Paladin supported suspected that her stalker had placed recording devices in her home. While she used to go to other people’s homes for respite from the spying, lockdown orders prevented her from doing so. Women who were reluctant to use certain technology out of fear that their stalker might use it to monitor them became even more socially isolated as in-person contact was limited and most communication moved to digital spaces that they did not feel safe to use.
These findings are just a sampling of documented and anecdotal reports of the recent increase in technology-facilitated gender-based violence.