Quick Escape Button
In the top right of all pages related to sexual violence and partner abuse on our website is a red-bordered “ESCAPE” button. Clicking on that button will automatically take you to The Weather Channel’s web page. We chose that site because weather is something we’re all interested in and it might be less suspicious than taking you to a blank Google screen or a shopping site.
As you surf the internet on your computer, the websites you visit are stored in your web browser’s history (web browsers are apps like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.) This is true on your computer as well as your phone.
Even though you can delete the history of the sites you have visited, there are tools that an individual can use to retrieve it. Additionally, there are software apps that a user can install on your computer to monitor which websites you visit, steal your usernames and passwords, and access your email or other sensitive information. If you think your computer or phone may be being monitored, be as safe as possible when browsing for information you do not want your abuser to know you are viewing. Most browsers include a private browsing mode, which will not track history or store other information. Although not completely safe, it is recommended to use these modes as much as possible when browsing sensitive information.
Ideally, use a safe computer. Safe computers can be found at the local library, internet café, at shelters, at work, a computer technology center, or at a friend’s home. Always use safe computers when researching things such as travel plans, housing options, legal issues and safety plans.
|Browser||How to Browse Privately||How to Clear Browser History and Cache|
|Firefox||Click here||Click here|
|Chrome||Click here||Click here|
|Safari||Click here||Click here|
|Internet Explorer||Click here||Click here|
If you have no choice but to use a computer that may not be safe, always use private mode rather than clearing your history after each session. A blank history can also raise suspicion from your abuser. If you are unable to prevent your history from being tracked for one reason or another and do not want to clear it, make your browsing as hard to track as possible. For example, if you are looking to relocate to California, do not just search for jobs or apartments in California. Also perform searches in other locations to make it harder for an abuser to discover your plans.
Your abusive partner could have access to your email account. To be safe, open an email account your partner does not know about on a safe computer and use that account for safety planning and sensitive communications. Do not use any personally identifiable or easily guess information when creating user names or passwords. It is a good idea to keep your monitored account active with non-critical emails in order to maintain appearances.
Cell phones can be a beacon, tracking your exact location in real time. Call and text history can also be retrieved by an abusive partner. Additionally, a location tracking device (GPS) can be placed on your car or in your purse. If you feel that your phone may be monitored, the safest thing to do is to purchase a pay-as-you-go phone that you keep in a safe place, or to use a phone in a safe place, such as at work, at a friend’s, or at a shelter.
Only post things you want the public to see or know. Once it’s online, it’s out of your control. Be very protective of your personal information like phone numbers, email and physical addresses, your birth date, home town, birth town, the schools you attended, your employer, and other similar information can give an abuser plenty of ways to monitor you and locate you. Photos can be traced and searched and may provide information you do not want to disclose. In addition to not posting personal information yourself, tell your friends and people close to you not to post anything personal about you either and not to tag you in photos if you are uncomfortable with it.
Keep all passwords private and make them difficult to guess by using no personal information in your user names or passwords. Do not write them down and leave them anywhere where an abuser may find them. If your computer or phone asks if you would like it to save your username or password, always say no.