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The Technology-Enabled Coercive Control Initiative (TECCI)

The Technology-Enabled Coercive Control Clinic was established by survivor advocates in the Seattle area who observed that technology was increasingly showing up as a method or tool for abuse. Building off the literature of coercive control that encapsulates coercive behaviors that include but go beyond violence, they termed this "technology-enabled coercive control" and established a working group (TECCI) to brainstorm how they could help advocates respond to it. 


Initially, they conceived of an app that could help survivors navigate their digital privacy, but after a similar app was released by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, they realized that the app alone could not replace human-mediated support. 

Drawing on their advocacy backgrounds and local network, TECCI began recruiting and training technologists to staff trials of a monthly technology clinic where survivors could get 1:1 support. Today, the TECC Clinic is run by New Beginnings, a community-based domestic violence agency in Seattle. 

During the development of the TECC Clinic, members of TECCI connected with Professor Ristenpart and Professor Dell who were interested in creating a similar service in New York City (see below), and who helped provide support around technology questions.

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The Clinic to End Tech Abuse

Conceived around the same time as the TECC Clinic, the Clinic to End Tech Abuse formed out of a research project at Cornell Tech, the graduate campus of Cornell University located in New York City. Professor Thomas Ristenpart and Professor Nicki Dell collaborated on a project to measure the use of spyware in intimate partner violence relationships. Reaching out through contacts, they began meeting with advocates at New York City's Family Justice Centers, run by the Mayor's Office to End Gender-Based Violence. 


Through these field studies designed to measure spyware, they quickly realized that (1) dedicated spyware apps were not as common as benign apps being repurposed by abusers (2) there were many other technology issues beyond spyware that survivors of intimate partner violence wanted assistance with, and (3) they needed to develop protocols and guidance on how to dispense that assistance while preserving the safety and dignity of everyone involved.


Also in touch with members of TECCI, the initial CETA team began conducting a series of focus groups with advocates and survivors to help develop protocols and guidelines for working with survivors. From those focus groups, the Clinic to End Tech Abuse grew from one-off sessions with survivors, to monthly visits "tech clinic days" at local advocacy agencies where the research team would meet with 1-4 survivors, to the current model staffed by dozens of volunteers responding to over 160 referrals a year.

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The Madison Tech Clinic

Professor Rahul Chatterjee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was involved in the initial founding of CETA as a PhD student leading the spyware measurement project. After starting his professorship at the University of Wisconsin, he started a similar clinic in Madison. Through a chance run-in with a visiting speaker who was able to connect him with the major anti-violence advocacy network in Madison, he was able to establish an agency partnership where his students at UW-Madison would receive training and support to work with survivors wanting technology services. 

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