FACS-logo
Domestic Violence

Domestic violence line (24 hours)1800 65 64 63 if you are in immediate danger call 000

Domestic violence image

Stay safe online

Stay safe online

On every page of this website, there is a button that says ‘Exit this site NOW’. You can click this button if anyone enters the room. It will take you to a neutral web page. This doesn’t remove evidence that you’ve visited this website because that’s part of your browser history.  

An abuser can monitor or control you by using technology. For more information, see how technology can be used in domestic violence. See below for information about how everyone’s actions online are automatically tracked and how to clear this information so your abuser cannot access it. 

Staying safe when using technology

Clear your internet history after using any device 

As you search the internet a record of your activity is recorded on the device you are using. Information from the sites you visit are saved to the ‘cache’ on your device, which is used to help pages load faster. If you are in an abusive relationship, you may want to delete this data. While it is difficult to completely delete your internet history, you can make it harder for someone to find it. Please read the instructions on how to clear your internet history on computers and mobile devices. 

Consider browsing the internet in ‘Incognito’ or ‘Private’ mode 

Most internet browsers have some form of temporary searching. When you use an internet browser with these settings, your searching history or ‘cookies’ are not saved. You can read more about how you can access these settings for the different internet browsers such as  Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.

Use a safer computer 

If you are worried someone is tracking your activity and you need to use the internet try to use somewhere else like a public library. 

Be careful when communicating online 

Messages sent through email, social networking sites (such as Facebook) and instant messaging services can be tracked and recorded. It may be safer to use other ways to get help. This might mean calling services from a landline or friend’s telephone rather than emailing. If you do communicate online, always make sure you log out of websites and clear your internet history. 

Create an anonymous email account

Do not create or use an alternative account on any computer that your abuser may have access to. Create an anonymous user name and account you can use on a safer computer. When making usernames, try not to use personal information about yourself such as your name. For example, use bluecat@email.com not yourname@email.com. 

Protect or change your passwords 

Choose passwords for your email and other online accounts (such as online banking) that would be difficult for your abuser to guess. Avoid personal details such as birthdays, nicknames or family details. Don’t share your passwords with anyone.  You could also consider using a password manager service.  

Check your mobile settings and GPS

Go through your mobile phone settings and make sure that other devices aren’t connected to your phone through Bluetooth or similar. Most mobile phones will regularly send GPS location information to different applications. It is important to turn off location access in your mobile phone settings. For instructions on how to change your location settings for Apple devices, visit their support website. For Android devices, the steps for changing your location settings will likely differ depending on the make and model. For help, visit the support website for your phone or visit your mobile service provider.

When you download new applications make sure you know what each of the apps do and what locations permissions you give them. If you have questions about location settings or third‐party applications call or visit your mobile service provider to ask them about this. 

Limit the information you give out about yourself 

Most things we do online ask for personal information. Limit the information that you provide since you don’t know how this information will be shared or stored online.

Get a PO Box and don’t give out your home address 

If you’re concerned about someone knowing where you live, you can open a Post Office Box (PO Box) or consider using another safe address that is not your home address. You can use this when you need to give out an address online.

How technology can be used in domestic violence

Harassing and controlling you are types of domestic and family violence. Any behaviour online by a partner or someone else could be abuse if it makes you feel scared or unsafe. It could include:

  • Sending multiple emails or text messages a day  
  • Monitoring your computer’s activity through Spyware  
  • Tracking your location using GPS  
  • Watching you through hidden cameras  
  • Intercepting your phone calls and messages  
  • Impersonating you to others.

Trust your instincts. If you think an abusive person could be harassing, stalking, or monitoring you by using technology, clear your internet history and follow the above tips for staying safe online.

Acknowledgment

The information above was adapted and compiled from several different sources. The NSW Government  would like to acknowledge and thank: