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Frontliners learn to spot signs of digital abuse
Pic: Shutterstock

08 May 2024 / technology Print

Frontliners learn to spot signs of digital abuse

A digital training course aims to combat technology-facilitated abuse (TFA).

Such behaviours include:

  • Incessant digital contact to ‘keep tabs’,
  • Constant demands to share location or remote tracking of movements,
  • Financial abuse – restricting access to online money or undue accountability for essential purchases.

University College Cork (UCC), Safe Ireland, and Cyber Awareness Ireland have together launched the online course in recognition of what Safe Ireland describes as a “pressing concern in a technology-saturated world”.

The first-of-its-kind digital badge course will address TFA in the Irish landscape.


Technology-facilitated abuse covers any act that utilises digital tools to perpetrate harm – whether physical, sexual, psychological, social, political, or economic – using tech tools to exploit, coerce, and control victims.

Frontline responders and allied professionals must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to combat this evolving threat, the course designers state.

The move stems from the national cyber security awareness task force, which comprises industry, academia, and Government stakeholders.

Experts that include An Garda Síochána, domestic-violence practitioners, cyber-security, and legal experts have developed the curriculum for frontline workers, law enforcement, medical professionals, social workers, and other allied professionals.

Participants will learn to recognise the red flags of technology-facilitated abuse, and learn how to take preventative measures.

Chief executive of Safe Ireland Mary McDermott stated: "We are increasingly aware that screens and tech can help or hurt us.

“We need to keep clear sight of the way all tech is quickly and continuously weaponised by perpetrators of abuse, to exert coercion and control over their victims.”


“We are proud to have built this tailored course to Ireland’s unique context and aim to ensure individuals facing technology-facilitated abuse (TFA) receive the specialised support they deserve, as we take this first step in addressing and recognising TFA in Ireland,” she said.

The course is now available via the UCC website and was launched online this morning (8 May) with a panel discussion, featuring experts from:

  • UCC,
  • Safe Ireland,
  • eSafety Australia,
  • Cyber Awareness Ireland,
  • Hotline.ie,
  • Coimisiún na Meán, and
  • Ireland’s UN youth delegate.
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