There is always a computer trail, but you can
click here to
leave this site quickly
What We Do
Who We Are
About Domestic Violence
If You or Someone You Know Needs Help
Planning for Your Safety
How to Help
Domestic Violence in the Workplace
Technology, including everyday items such as computers and cell phones, is a crucial area to consider in safety planning. Below are some precautions recommended by Safety Net: The National Safe and Strategic Technology Project at
The National Network to End Domestic Violence
Trust your instincts.
If the abuser knows too much regarding your whereabouts, it is possible that your phone, computer, emails and other activities might be tracked.
Use a safe computer.
When you look for help, a new place to live, etc., it may be safest to use a computer at the public library, an Internet café, or a community center.
Create a new email account with a new password from a safe computer.
Use an anonymous name and password that no one will be able to guess— e.g., daffodil@ email.com, not yourrealname@ email.com. Don’t use initials, nicknames, pet names, or any other identifying information that will be easy to guess.
Change passwords and PIN numbers.
Some abusers access victims’ accounts fraudulently to track them, to impersonate them, and to cause harm. Think about any password-protected accounts you may have, such as online banking, medical records, voice mail, etc. If anyone knows or could guess your passwords, change them quickly and frequently. It is helpful to have a combination of letters and numbers with at least one capital letter.
Use a donated or new cell phone when making private calls or arranging safety plans.
This is critical if you normally use a family cell phone plan or otherwise share minutes with your abuser. Billing records and phone logs, readily available from the phone company, might reveal your plans. Local domestic violence programs have information about new cell phones and prepaid phone cards for the use of survivors of abuse and stalking.
Check your cell phone settings.
If you are using a cell phone provided by the abusive person, consider turning it off when you are not using it. Often phones can be set to automatically answer without your knowing, in effect becoming a speaker. Most newer phones are GPS capable and therefore come with a tracking device that could be activated without your knowledge.
Minimize use of cordless phones or baby monitors.
These are like speakers and can be monitored. A traditional corded phone is more secure for confidential conversations.
Ask about your records and data.
Many court systems and government records are published online. Ask agencies how your records can be protected, restricted, or sealed to protect your safety.
Get a private mailbox and do not give out your real physical address.
When asked by businesses, doctors, and others for your address, have a private mailbox address or a safer address to give them. Try to keep your residential address out of national databases. Many states, including Massachusetts, have the Address Confidentiality Program that can help you protect your actual address and is valid for legal documents.
Search for your name and your phone number online.
Major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and switchboard.com, to name a few, may have links to your contact information, including satellite photos of your home. Search for your name in quotation marks: “Full Name”. Also do this with your telephone number. Also check phone directory pages, because unlisted numbers might have been published if you have given the number to anyone.
Consider taking down your social networking pages such as Myspace, Facebook, etc.
Information posted on these sites can compromise your safety through photos which reveal your location and through friends your abuser knows who link to your social site.
Consider closing your chain store, auto repair, oil change, or other service discount cards.
The information they track is put on searchable databases, which a tech-savvy abuser may be able to hack into. Often a clerk will allow you to use their card so you still get the savings.
Are you in danger?
CALL 911 FOR IMMEDIATE HELP
Or Click Here for more options »
Survivor Story »
Support TSS »
Help moms and their kids.
Sign up to Receive Email Updates
SIGN UP »
News from The Second Step
February 14, 2013
A Rockin' Hot Evening for Renaissance Man and The Second Step
May 22, 2013
The Second Step | 617.965.3999 or
email us »
© The Second Step 2009