Making it safer to access Women's Refuge online

08 December 2016 / Published in News & Stories

As we approach Christmas, occurrences of family violence increase dramatically. Last year over the holiday period, over 6,000 women and children across New Zealand needed the services of Women’s Refuge.

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 our 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 safely. 

We’ve teamed up with the Women’s Refuge, Saatchi & Saatchi, The Warehouse and a group of other New Zealand organisations to help victims of domestic violence get the assistance they need – without being detected online. When visiting the ASB website to do internet banking, domestic violence victims can now discretely click on the Shielded Site icon at the bottom of our website to open a small popup window. This has information from Women’s Refuge on how to get assistance, make a plan or to ask for help. Accessing the popup window will not be recorded in your internet browser history which is important when abusers may be monitoring online movements.

As a trusted brand where online security is our top priority, we’re also hosting the secure technology behind this initiative to make it easy for other businesses and websites to support Women’s Refuge. Simply go to www.shielded.co.nz and follow the instructions to add the Shielded Site tab to your own website. We’re wanting as many NZ businesses and websites to take part whether you are a blogger, a small website or a larger organisation.

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.

“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,” Fiona says.

“We 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.”

Domestic violence isn’t only physical abuse. Physical violence, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial abuse are all forms of domestic violence. If you need to seek help from Women’s Refuge, you can now do this securely and without detection via our website and the other partners in this initiative.


More articles from ASB