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Protect Yourself

INTERNET SAFETY

WARNING
Taking all of the actions on this page may not prevent an abuser from discovering your email and Internet activity. The safest way to find information on the Internet is to go to a safer computer. Some suggestions would be your local library, a friend's house or your workplace. Other safety suggestions: Change your password often, do not pick obvious words or numbers for your password, and make sure to include a combination of letters and numbers for your password.

HOW AN ABUSER CAN TRACK YOUR ACTIVITIES
Email
If an abuser has access to your email account, he or she may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. Even if you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password he or she will not be able to guess.

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, you can print and save them as evidence of this abuse. These messages may also constitute a federal offense. For more information on this issue, contact your local United States Attorney's Office.

ERASING YOUR TRACKS
History/cache file
If an abuser knows how to read your computer's history of cache file (automatically saved web pages and graphics), he or she may be able to see information you have viewed on the Internet.

You can clear your history or empty your cache file in your brower's settings*

Netscape:
Pull down Edit menu, select Preferences. Click on Navigator or choose "Clear History". Click on Advanced then select Cache. Click on "Clear Disk Cache".

Internet Explorer:
Pull down Tools menu, select Internet Options. On General page under Temporary Internet Files, Click on Delete Files. If asked, check the box to delete all offline content. Still within the Temporary Internet Files section, click on Setting (This step may make it harder to navigate pages where you would like your information to be remembered, but these remaining cookies do show website pages you have visited. Therefore, use your own judgment as to whether or not to take this next step). Click on "View Files", Manually highlight all the files (cookies) shown, then hit Delete. Close that window, then on General page under History section, click on "Clear History."

AOL:
Pull down Members menu, select Preferences. Click on WWW icon. Then select Advanced. Purge Cache.

Additionally, you need to make sure that the "Use Inline Autocomplete" box is NOT checked. This function will complete partial web addresses while typing location in the address bar at the top of the browser.

If you are using Internet Explorer, this box can be found on the MS Internet Explorer Page by clicking on "Tools" at the top of the screen, then "Internet Options" and then the "Advanced" tab. About halfway down there is a "Use Inline Autocomplete" box that can be checked or unchecked by clicking on it. Uncheck the box to disable the feature that automatically completes an Internet address when you start typing in the Internet address box.

*This 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.

For help call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)


SAFETY PLANS

General Information:
If you are still in the relationship:
  • Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
  • Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
  • Keep small change with you at all times (for phone, bus, etc).
  • Memorize all important numbers (friends, SSN, etc).
  • Establish a "code word" or "sign" so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
  • Think about what you will say to your partner if he\she becomes violent.
Remember, you have the right to live without fear and violence.

If you have left the relationship:
  • Change your phone number.
  • Screen calls (get caller ID or let your machine pick up and listen before answering).
  • Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer (make a copy of this and put it in a safe place or with a safe friend).
  • Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
  • Avoid staying alone.
  • Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
  • If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place (shopping mall, coffee shop, restaurant).
  • Vary your routine.
  • Notify school and work contacts.
  • Call a shelter for battered women.
If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action.

Important papers:
  • social security cards
  • birth certificates for you and your children
  • your marriage license (domestic partnership papers)
  • leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner's names
  • checkbook, charge cards, statements and charge account statements
  • insurance policies
  • proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2's)
  • and any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.)
If you are in San Diego, call the 24 hour hotline (888) DVLINKS for help. If you are not in San Diego and need help call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
 

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