Domestic Abusers Install Spying Apps To Monitor Their Victims Phones And Computers
Violent partners are increasingly using spying software installed on mobile phones and computers to track and intimidate their victims, according to research by campaign groups.
Spyware is a type of software that can track location, read emails, see passwords and access stored pictures and information without the owner’s knowledge.
Spyware tends to be designed to go undetected by anti-virus software – so it can be difficult to find and remove.
According to a study by domestic violence charity Women”s Aid, some 41% of domestic violence victims’ partners have installed spyware and surveillance apps on their mobile phones without consent.
A separate study by the Digital Trust showed that 50% of abusive partners used a form of electronic surveillance to stalk victims.
“Domestic abuse is about control and perpetrators will use any means available to maintain and increase their control,” Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, told The Independent.
She added that the charity increasingly hears stories of abusers adding tracking software to phones and computers – often given as gifts at Christmas and on birthdays – gather information about their partners.
“However, in many cases the police are not trained to recognise and understand the impact of online abuse, including tracking, and action is rarely taken against abusers.”
There are a number of tools on the market that allow such covert spying, including mSpy and Flexispy – the latter markets itself specifically as a tool for catching cheating spouses.
“Is your wife or husband cheating on you?” asks the website. “For the sake of your mental and sexual health, you have the right to know if your partner is being responsible. Spy on their mobile phones to reveal their secrets.”
The site goes on to say that women are "genetically less prone to infidelity than men" but that when women do cheat, they "usually do so in a well-planned and discreet fashion, making it exceedingly difficult for their men to know they”re being cuckolded".
Women are better at lying than men, says Flexispy, saying that "they carefully create a scene, construct a theory and have alibis ready on hand if confronted".
Using spying software to eavesdrop on or stalk a victim is illegal in the UK, but it can be difficult to prove that someone’s been spying on you in this way.
Domestic violence incidents tend to spike over Christmas and New Year due to financial pressures and alcohol consumption.
If you are concerned that you are being digitally stalked, you can check out this guide by Women”s Aid.