DOMESTIC violence perpetrators are using “revenge porn” to humiliate and harass victims or to keep them trapped in abusive ­relationships by threatening to post intimate images online.

In Australia’s largest ever survey on how technology is being used to abuse and control women, more than 270 domestic violence workers said they had clients whose abusive partners had threatened to share ­intimate images.

Workers from NSW and Victoria who participated in the Recharge: Women’s Technology Safety project said abusers threatened to share the intimate images to stop the women from reporting abuse to police or taking out a protection order.

About half of those workers said the perpetrator eventually carried out their threats with women reporting intimate images had been posted on Facebook or adult websites, having devastating effects on their lives.

One worker said:

One of my clients had an explicit photo of her emailed to members of an adult site, without her knowledge or consent, by her partner (they were together at the time, not separated) who is a senior sergeant in the police force.

Karen Bentley, national director of Safety Net Australia, said the rise of “revenge porn”, a term she dislikes as it implies the victim has done something to deserve vengeance, had become a “worrying trend” in the domestic violence sector.

This has been backed up by Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW director Maria Le Breton, who reported that frontline workers were supporting women who have had threats of “revenge porn” made against them by partners or ex-partners.

In some circumstances the ex-partner or partner has threatened to reveal explicit images of the woman to the woman’s family and workplace,

Ms Le Breton said.

Ms Bentley, who trains workers on how to help women experiencing domestic violence via phones or online, will give a presentation on what she is seeing on the frontline on Monday at Australia’s first ever conference on technology-assisted domestic abuse.

Ms Bentley said she had worked with one woman, in her mid-30s, who accidentally stumbled across a profile on her partner’s laptop on an adult dating website. The profile picture and description was her.

“Her abuser had created a profile pretending to be her, she believes to solicit online sex while portraying himself as a woman,” she said.