Rethinking technologies for domestic violence prevention work

Digital Social Innovation

Collaborators Durham University

Abstract

An examination of digital systems being used to both support and challenge male perpetrators of domestic violence.

Method

We report on how mundane technologies were being purposed to support instilling morally responsible behaviours and encouraging male perpetrators to take responsibility for the harm their actions.

Takeaways

These insights are the basis for offering some practical considerations for HCI scholars, policymakers and intervention designers in their work with perpetrators of violence.

We describe the critical examination of digital systems within a charitable organisation in the North of England that are being used to both support and challenge male perpetrators of domestic violence.

While there exists a range of digital tools to support the victim-survivors of domestic violence, no tools are available to challenge the abusive and harmful behaviours of perpetrators. As such, we highlight four spaces of negotiation concerning a person’s responsibility in changing their abusive behaviour, which we have coined as mechanisms to represent their fundamental and interconnected nature.

These insights are the basis for offering some practical considerations for HCI scholars, policymakers and intervention designers in their work with perpetrators of violence.

Takeaways

Domestic violence is a global, serious social problem that requires sensitive, considered and effective responses to mitigate the harm it causes. While the field of HCI has begun to explore the role of technology concerning victim-survivors, through our study, we specifically examined the role of technology within a charitable organisation in their efforts to encourage male perpetrators to desist from their abusive behaviours.

Within this work, we report on how mundane technologies were being purposed to support instilling morally responsible behaviours and encouraging male perpetrators to take responsibility for the harm their actions had caused through four interlocking mechanisms: Self-Awareness, Acknowledging the Extent of Harms, Providing Peer Support and Respecting Authorities.

We conclude with some practical considerations which we invite the community to take into account for future design work of long-term prevention strategies targeting domestic violence. In future work, we intend to explore how these identified mechanisms of responsibility within digital tools can be leveraged within existing service delivery.

Publications

Mechanisms of Moral Responsibility: Rethinking Technologies for Domestic Violence Prevention Work

  1. Rosanna Bellini
  2. Simon Forrest
  3. Nicole Westmarland
  4. Jan David Smeddinck

2020CHI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems