CoTech Meetup: Technology Against Violence

How a new wave of innovators are trying to use tech to empower survivors of gender-based abuse.

Is technology a weapon, or a force for good?

An estimated 2.3 million adults aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year, according to the Office of National Statistics. Unfortunately technology has played a big part in that. In our highly connected world, abusers can use technology against victims to monitor, threaten, harass, and hurt them. Experts also say that the pandemic has likely made the problem worse.

But not all is bad! In the UK, a landmark law passed in 2020 has made it illegal to use technology to track or spy on partners or ex-partners. The law specifically defines this kind of online abuse as a form of domestic abuse.

Moreover, there are many organisations using tech to empower victims and help them out of their abusive relationships. We are seeing a wave of new technological innovations, including platforms and apps to address gender-based violence and and promote gender equality.

This online event will bring together 4 incredible speakers to discuss how tech can be used to help and empower victims, and highlight the work that still needs to be done to end gender-based-violence.

Our speakers for the evening are:

Naomi Naidoo, Chayn (chayn.co)

Naomi Alexander Naidoo is Movement Builder at Chayn, building Chayn’s movement fighting gender-based violence around the world. CHAYN is a global volunteer network addressing gender-based violence by creating intersectional survivor-led resources online.

Naomi will be speaking about Chayn's work supporting survivors through open-source, accessible technology. She'll talk about how Chayn has built innovative new digital service offerings to meet demand through lockdown, their work fighting tech abuse, and the importance of intersectional, trauma-informed, survivor-centric design.

Cat Ainsworth, The Dot Project (www.dotproject.coop)

Over the past year and a half DOT PROJECT has supported charities supporting survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Their work has focused on moving services online and supporting organisations to create a strong foundation for their digital technology approach in order to maintain and sustain their services for the long term. In this talk DOT PROJECT will share a few case studies from our recent work.

Tessa Cooper, Collaborative Future (www.collaborativefuture.co.uk)

Despite being a victim of gender-based sexual violence in her late teenage years, Tess left education at 18 and rapidly progressed in her career through the Guardian, Comic Relief and FutureLearn where she became Director of People. Tessa launched Collaborative Future in 2018, a social enterprise actively advocating for a society where everyone is valued and empowered.

Tessa will share her personal story around physical gender-based violence. She'll demonstrate how when done well technology can serve as a tool for justice and healing, but that more often than not our technology mirrors and echoes our culture of violence, dominance and disempowerment. She'll share practical examples of how everyone striving to build new, more equitable systems or tools need to work on personally unravelling their social conditioning in order to not replicate the harm our existing systems inflict on people.

Alice Piterova, AI For Good (www.aiforgood.co.uk)

Data and AI have the potential to solve big societal problems. The challenge lies in identifying where to direct focus, to ensure that this powerful and yet very nascent technology is used to do good and actually drives lasting positive outcomes. Alice from AI for Good UK is going to talk about rAInbow, the friendly chatbot designed to provide a safe, non-judgmental space for all those at risk of abuse to get help and valid information on this very private and sensitive matter.

to (Europe/London time)

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