Internet Abuse Alert
Even if you take these cautionary steps, your abuser may be able to discover your online activities. To ensure that your online activities are not discovered by your abuser, you should use a computer that your abuser cannot access (i.e. public library, safe family or friend’s computer, etc).
If you think your activities (online and offline) are being monitored, you are probably right. People who are abusive often want to know their victim’s every move and interaction. If this is something you’re experiencing, it’s important to think through how they might be tracking your online activity. These tips can help you think through how to access information online more safely.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIPS FOR INTERNET USE
If you are in an abusive relationship and your abuser has access to your computer, it is important that you take precautionary steps to hide your internet activities.
If an abuser has access to your email account, they may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. If you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password they will not be able to guess.
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Additionally, the messages may constitute a federal offense. For more information on this issue, contact your local United States Attorney’s Office.
If an abuser knows how to read your computer’s history or cache file (automatically saved web pages and graphics), they may be able to see information you have viewed recently on the internet. You can clear your history or empty your cache file in your browser’s settings (learn how by clicking here).
Please note that if you are in an abusive relationship, clearing your browser’s history file may not be the safest step. If your abuser is monitoring your internet use, they may be upset by this action and demand to know why it has been cleared thereby increasing the risk of abuse. The safest way for a survivor of domestic violence to access the internet without being tracked is to use a computer that the abuser cannot access.
These above actions are the first of many steps you can take to become safe in a violent relationship. For more information on safety planning, call at hotline.
Need help? You’re not alone.
Doorways provides shelter and services to individuals and families in Arlington, Virginia. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in our community, call Arlington’s 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline 703-237-0881 for information and support. Please call 911 if you are experiencing a life-threatening situation. Not in Arlington? Please see alternative resources here. Specially trained advocates are always available to support you as well as your loved one.