This blog is a place where fellow colleagues can go to obtain research, read articles, gain insight, laugh a little and find useful tools and tips. I love discussion and want to hear your opinion as well, whether it supports or challenges the posted view. The field of social work is not a walk in the park, and we need the support of others to make it through.
I am a Military Spouse who has had 12 years of experience learning how to juggle a career while moving every few years. I have experience in School Social Work, Private Practice, Community Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Hospital Social Work, Hospice and Home Health. I hold both a Master's and Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in Trauma.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Smart Homes and Domestic Violence

Recently my husband has been working on turning our home into a "smart house."  I can't help but think of the movie from the 1990's where the house eventually goes rogue.  These days, having a smart house can be a reality.  There are so many options such as having your light bulbs turn a hue at a certain time of the day or having your A/C unit change temps when you leave the house.  We only have a few things set up so far, but I imagine much more is on the horizon courtesy of my tech savvy husband.

I've been reflecting on these "smart" devices and how they can have the ability to be used as tools to control in an abusive relationship.  If you have a "smart" lock, it can be set to open or not open at certain times and it can be controlled from a smart phone away from the house.  It can also be monitored and notifications set up for when the door is opened or closed.  The passcode can even be changed at a moments notice.  This all makes my hackles rise when I think about the controlling ability this can have in an abusive relationship.

There are many ways that an abuser can use to control, such as money, violence, sex, threats, time, children and pets to name a few.  But more and more, technology is becoming a huge way for abusers  to control.  I had a client who could not figure out why her abuser always seemed to know where she was, even after they had separated (and divorced).  It wasn't until later on that we discovered she still had her cell phone from when they were together, and he was using it to track her.  

I shudder to think of what can be used these days to track and control.  If you know someone who is in (or you think may be in) an abusive relationship, the best thing you can do is listen, offer support and extend an open ended offer to help.  Also be aware of the phone number to your local domestic violence shelter.  If you don't know which one serves your area, you can always call the national hotline at  1-800-799-HELP (7233) or visit the website at The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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