Is It Safe to Be Here?
•Web Browsing Safety •E-Mail Safety •Confidentiality
The Most Important Thing
If at all possible use a computer that your abuser won’t access: perhaps one at a library, your work, a friend’s house, a family member’s house, or an internet café.
Computers are messy. They leave many digital traces of your activity. These traces are nearly impossible to remove completely. However, if you must use a computer that your abuser has access to, the following will give you some measure of protection.
What Your Browser Remembers
Your browser leaves behind many traces as you visit websites. These traces can easily show which sites you’ve visited.
Some of these traces (“cookies” and the browser's “cache®) are small files on your computer’s disk. Your browser also keeps a history of the sites you’ve visited recently.
What You Can Do
You can delete many traces of your web browsing. However, files can be recovered even after they’re deleted.
Also, your abuser might notice that you’ve deleted them and become suspicious or angry. You can say you've heard or read that temporary history files slow your computer and waste space. While this is generally true, it might not be a convincing excuse.
Rather than relying on these techniques, we recommend you use a safe computer if at all possible.
Deleting Some Traces of Your Browsing
Other Security Features
Most browsers provide other security and privacy features. For example, some let you:
•keep the browser from remembering what you've entered in forms
•automatically delete your browsing history when you close the browser
•browse in a “safe mode® that doesn't leave traces behind
It's worth getting familiar with your browser's special features. You can normally find these on the Tools menu under Options, or on the Edit menu under Preferences.
For your safety, if you are emailing about domestic violence, do not use an email account that your abuser has access to. Your abuser may be able to see the emails you have sent, and even to recover emails that you have deleted.
If you need to email about domestic violence, if at all possible create an account that your abuser doesn't know about, and use it on a computer that your abuser doesn't have access to. Be sure to pick an email name and password that your abuser won't be able to guess.
We believe in the importance of confidentiality and will practice maintaining it in all areas and for all those affiliated with us. This extends to phone, personal, web, email, and all other contacts you may have with us.