Technology and the internet are powerful tools that those experiencing violence can use to find and access resources to help and safety. Unfortunately, it’s also a tool that abusive partners can use to perpetuate abuse including online harassment, stalking and tracking during and after the relationship has ended. It’s important to know how to protect yourself online, so you can continue to live safely.
Safety Tips (National Domestic Violence Hotline):
- If you are using a shared device at home, like a computer, avoid researching things like travel plans, housing options, legal issues, and safety plans. Safe computers can be found at your local library, Internet cafe, shelter, workplace, or computer technology center.
- Consider creating a separate email that your abuser doesn’t know about and use that email for safety planning and sensitive communications.
- Consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone and keep it in a safe place for private calls. Use a password on your phone and update it regularly. Cell phones can be used to track your location and retrieve call and text history.
- Set strict privacy settings on your social media accounts to make it harder for your abuser to find you.
- Disable the ability for other people to tag you in their photos or posts and avoid posting any personal or identifying information like your birth date, schools you attended, employers, and photos with landmarks that may make it easier for someone to reach you.
Keep in mind, if you think you are being monitored, it might be dangerous to suddenly stop your online activity or stop them from accessing your accounts. Continue using those monitored devices for activities that won’t trigger violence until you know you are safe.
Virtual Child Safety
Virtual interactions with children can prevent professionals from assessing their safety as they normally would. With information from the PA Family Support Alliance, we created a short video of what signs to look out for and how to follow up on suspicions of abuse when interacting with children virtually. Click on the link below to watch the full video.