Interdisciplinary grant awarded for a two-year project

Project seeks to address the needs of survivors of technology-facilitated abuse

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2024 • Christy Brady :

Grace Brannon in a suit, wearing glasses and a long necklace.Dr. Grace Ellen Brannon, Associate Professor of Communication, has secured a $75,000 grant from the Wolen’s Impact Fund. This grant will fund a two-year project titled “Mavericks Ending Technology-facilitated Abuse: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Program Adaptation.”

Technology-facilitated abuse (TFA) is a serious and rapidly emerging tactic of teen dating violence, stalking, and abuse. TFA can include tactics in online spaces using everyday technology such as cell phones, social media, and other chat platforms. 

“This interdisciplinary work is important,” she said, “because technology-facilitated abuse is only growing. We should be communicating with survivors, equipping them with important information and guidance on what to do, and helping address future threats using evidence-based frameworks.”

As co-Investigator, Dr. Brannon collaborated with a team of researchers from engineering and social work on this interdisciplinary project to train advocates in cybersecurity, mental health, and the unique needs of survivors of abuse. 

The projects aims to study and evaluate an approach known as a Tech Abuse Clinic. A Tech Abuse Clinic trains advocates to work with survivors to ultimately create tech abuse safety plans. The impact of a Tech Abuse Clinic housed at UTA would mean survivors would receive guidance from their advocate to be prepared to address any future threats.

Elizabeth Newman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts said Brannon’s contributions will have large-scale impact.

“We are very excited to support this interdisciplinary project. Dr. Brannon has made outstanding contributions to her field, and we believe UTA will benefit from having a team dedicated to educating and protecting against technology facilitated abuse.