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Cover your tracks online

Warning: if you are worried about someone knowing you have visited this website please read the following safety information.

How can an abuser discover your internet activities?

Please take a few minutes to read the warning below and to take steps to increase your safety when visiting this website.

As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, information entered into search engines and a trail (‘history’) that reveals the sites you have visited. Please follow the instructions below to minimize the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.

If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.

Exit site button

The green Exit Site button on the right of the Welsh Women’s Aid website will quickly hide the page but you will still need to delete your history fully cover your tracks.

Private browsing

All leading web browsers have a “private browsing” mode that, once enabled, stores nothing about your activity on your computer in that browsing window. This won’t stop online services from seeing what you get up to, but it won’t leave any traces of your activity on your computer (no history, web cache or anything else) and so it’s always a useful first step to take.

Internet Explorer: Go to Safety – Tools – “InPrivate Browsing”.

Firefox: Click the Menu button with three horizontal lines – “New Private Window”.

Chrome: Click the Menu button with three horizontal lines and select “New Incognito Window”.

Similar options can be found in Opera and Safari.

It is also best to double check that nothing has been stored by following the steps below.

Internet Explorer

Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Cookies and then OK. Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labelled Delete all offline content and click OK. Under History, click on Clear History and then OK. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.

Firefox

Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. Click on the Clear button next to Cache and Saved Form Information.

Deleting your browsing history

Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a ‘history’. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Ctrl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that say www.welshwomensaid.org.uk, right click and choose Delete.

Email

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your Drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – print and delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.

When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, etc.) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in deleted items separately. Right click on items within the Deleted Items folder to delete individual items.

Toolbars

Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”.

General security

If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your email and track your internet usage. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

All of the above information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

Taken with permission from: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/cover-your-tracks-online/


Online and digital abuse

Online platforms are increasingly used to perpetrate domestic abuse. Online domestic abuse can include behaviours such as monitoring of social media profiles or emails, abuse over social media such as Facebook or Twitter, sharing intimate photos or videos without your consent, using GPs locators or spyware.

Women’s Aid research on online domestic abuse found that:

  • For 85% of respondents the abuse they received online from a partner or ex-partner was part of a pattern of abuse they also experienced offline.
  • Nearly a third of respondents (29%) experienced the use of spyware or GPS locators on their phone or computers by a partner or ex-partner.
  • For half (50%) of respondents the online abuse they experienced also involved direct threats to them or someone they knew.
  • Nearly a third of those respondents who had received threats stated that where threats had been made online by a partner or ex-partner they were carried out.

Keeping safe online

Online services and social media should be open and safe for everyone to use. We know that perpetrators of domestic abuse often use online tools to abuse their victims.

Below is information about the safety policies and processes on some of the main social media platforms that should help you stay safe online.

If you need support please call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.

You can find more tips for how to delete cookies  and conceal your browsing history here

Twitter

Twitter has certain rules and policies that it expects everyone who uses it to abide by. Tie rules include not abusing people on Twitter. When someone breaks the rules they can be sanctioned. We know that perpetrators use Twitter to abuse their partners or ex-partners, monitor their movements and also carry out certain behaviours such as revenge pornography. This is unacceptable and against Twitter’s rules and policies.

Below are some of the main ways of keeping safe on Twitter. There are other tools and resources that can be used and these can be found on Twitter’s Safety Centre

Stop other people seeing your tweets – you can ‘protect your tweets’ so only people who you approve can see what you are tweeting. Here’s how to protect your tweets

Disable your location – if your tweets have a location added it may be easier for the perpetrator or their friends and family to find you. To check your location settings and to turn it off here’s how:

  1. In the Tweet compose box on twitter.com, click the button with your location.
  2. Select Turn off location from the dropdown menu.
  3. The Turn off location setting will be saved, so next time you compose a Tweet on twitter.com your location information will not appear.

Block Someone who is being abusive – if you are being abused or harassed by someone online you can block them from being able to see your profile or getting any of their tweets. NOTE if you block someone they will know that you have blocked them. Here’s how to block someone

Report abuse – you can report someone for being abusive, threatening you or harassing you on Twitter. You can report them using this form

Use your report as evidence – if you have reported someone for being abusive you can also download and email your report to use as evidence for the police or other agencies. Here’s how to use your report as evidence

If you are a domestic abuse service you can also report abuse on behalf of someone you are supporting through this form

Facebook

Facebook has certain rules that it expects everyone who uses it to abide by. Rules include not abusing people on Facebook. When someone breaks the rules they can be sanctioned. We know that perpetrators use Facebook to abuse their partners or ex-partners, monitor their movements and also carry out certain behaviours such as revenge pornography. This is unacceptable and against Facebook’s rules.

You can learn about all the privacy basics of Facebook here: Take the Facebook privacy basics:

Below are some of the main ways of keeping safe on Facebook. There are other tools that can be used as well and these can be found on Facebook’s Safety Centre:

  • Unfriend someone
  • Block someone who is being abusive or harassing you
  • Report someone who is being abusive or harassing you

Learn more about how you can use the above Facebook tools

More useful links

What to do someone is threatening to share things you want to keep private

What to do if someone is pretending to be you on Facebook

You can take the Facebook security check-up to add additional security to your account. Learn more 

You can also download your Facebook data into a PDF and use it however you want. This could be for the police as proof of online abuse or for other evidential requirements.

To download your data from your Facebook page:

  1. Click  at the top right of any Facebook page and select Settings
  2. Click Download a copy of your Facebook data below your General Account Settings
  3. Click Start My Archive

Taken with permission from: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/onlinesafety/

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