Abusers often monitor their partner’s activities, including their computer use. While there are ways to delete your internet history, this can be a red flag to your partner that you’re trying to hide something, so be very careful. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to clear a computer of all evidence of the websites that you have visited unless you know a lot about computers.
- Use a safe computer. If you seek help online, you are safest if you use a computer outside of your home. You can use a computer at work, a friend’s house, the library, your local community center, or a domestic violence shelter or agency.
- Be cautious with email and instant messaging. Email and instant messaging are not the safest way to get help for domestic violence. Be especially careful when sending an email, as your abuser may know how to access your account. You may want to consider creating a new email account that your abuser doesn’t know about.
- Change your user names and passwords. Create new usernames and passwords for your email, online banking, and other sensitive accounts. Even if you don’t think your abuser has your passwords, he may have guessed or used a spyware or keylogging program to get them. Choose passwords that your abuser can’t guess (avoid birthdays, nicknames, and other personal information).
Protecting yourself from GPS surveillance and recording devices
Your abuser doesn’t need to be tech-savvy in order to use surveillance technology to monitor your movements and listen in on your conversations. Be aware that your abuser may be using hidden cameras, such as a “Nanny Cam,” or even a baby monitor to check in on you. Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are also cheap and easy to use. GPS devices can be hidden in your car, your purse, or other objects you carry with you. Your abuser can also use your car’s GPS system to see where you’ve been.
If you discover any tracking or recording devices, leave them be until you’re ready to leave. While it may be tempting to remove them or shut them off, this will alert your abuser that you’re on to him.