Welcome to the first blog in our Stay Safe series. Each blog will cover a different way people living through intimate partner violence can keep themselves safe. Our first topic is digital security.
The internet is a powerful thing. For those enduring domestic violence, it can be a great resource for finding help. Unfortunately, it can also be used against the victim by the abuser in many ways. Intimate partner violence can begin on the internet, carry over to it, or make it worse, so it’s important to practice online safety whenever possible.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Your internet history can never be fully erased from any device, even if you’re using incognito mode.
- Keystroke loggers can be installed on computers without the user’s knowledge and used to gain access to any passwords, especially email, and can record every single word you type.
- GPS trackers can be hidden in your car, purse, gym bag or cell phone.
- Many court systems publish online records, meaning personal info like addresses could be publicly available.
- Social media isn’t really private, no matter your settings. Use caution about how much information you divulge, especially addresses and photos with easily identifiable landmarks. Disable the ability for others to tag you in photos and don’t post photos of others without their consent.
If using a computer to which your abuser could have access, keep in mind that they could be monitoring your usage. Local libraries, internet cafés, and the workplace can be the safest places to use a computer.
Open a separate email account that your abuser doesn’t know about, preferably when you’re using that safe computer at the library. This can be used to help plan your escape and to reach out to any entities you contact for help.
Think about purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone that you can stash somewhere out of sight but within easy access for when you may need it. You can also take your phone to your cell provider’s service center to see if it contains any spyware.
When it’s safe, use a mirror to search under the bumpers of your car for GPS trackers. You should also check under the hood and under the seats. If none are found, or you can’t conduct this search safely, you can take it to a trusted mechanic who will search for you.
Here are more technology safety and privacy tips from the National Network to end Domestic Violence.
Using the internet to find help when you’re stuck in a terrible situation can be a great idea. Just be sure to consider your safety when doing so. And know that we’re here to help when you need us!
The Greene County Family Justice Center is a nonprofit collaborative of local agencies offering comprehensive services to survivors of domestic, sexual, and family violence. Our services are trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and we welcome survivors at any point in their process. We partner with local nonprofit service providers as well as local law enforcement, the Prosecutor’s office, and Children’s Division to make victim services more accessible and completely voluntary. If you do not want to participate in the criminal justice process, we support you.
Our vision is a future where we all work together to meet the needs of domestic violence and human trafficking survivors through comprehensive and accessible services, education, and perpetrator accountability. Through a coordinated framework and co-located response, we strive to break the vicious generational cycle and community impact of domestic violence and resulting victimizations.
We can help you plan for your safety whether you plan to stay in the relationship, or you are actively trying to escape. All our services are free, confidential and survivor centered. Have questions about what services are available? Visit us at 1418 E. Pythian Street or give us a call at 417-874-2600. We are open 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. For after-hours assistance, call the Harmony House/Victim Center’s 24-hour safe line at 417-864-SAFE (7233). If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
Info from hotline.org
TEXT: START to 88788
CALL: 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)