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Stories from survivors: Privacy & security practices when coping with intimate partner abuse

Tara Matthews
Jill Palzkill Woelfer
Martin Shelton
Cori Manthorne
Elizabeth F. Churchill
CHI '17 Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA (2017), pp. 2189-2201


We present a qualitative study of the digital privacy and security motivations, practices, and challenges of survivors of intimate partner abuse (IPA). This paper provides a framework for organizing survivors' technology practices and challenges into three phases: physical control, escape, and life apart. This three-phase framework combines technology practices with three phases of abuse to provide an empirically sound method for technology creators to consider how survivors of IPA can leverage new and existing technologies. Overall, our results suggest that the usability of and control over privacy and security functions should be or continue to be high priorities for technology creators seeking ways to better support survivors of IPA.