Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence


Internet Safety

Read this first: Email is not a safe way to talk to someone about the abuse in your life. Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

  • There are hundreds of ways to record everything you do on the computer and what you access on the Internet.

  • If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Use a computer at a public library or a computer lab to access resources and information. Any indication of leaving your situation could put you in danger.

  • It is not possible to delete or clear all computer "footprints". Erasing or deleting files could also alert your abuser and possibly increase your danger.

  • Do not let your computer save your passwords.

  • Spyware can be installed easily on a computer or smart phone and is hard to detect. Every key stroke, web page or if on a smart phone, text messages, conversations and GPS location can be viewed, heard, and seen by someone monitoring you.

Quick Tips:

  • If you receive harassing emails, save them as evidence.
  • Use a web-based email service like Yahoo or Hotmail.
  • Choose passwords that are not easy to guess and change passwords often.
  • Keep your files on a removable disk and put passwords on them to deter access.

Private or Anonymous Browsing:

Most web browsers now offer an option to browse the internet in an anonymous or private window.  This means that no information – cookies,  temporary Internet files, history, and other data – will be collected or stored on your computer about any sites you visit while in that window. Keep in mind, if you download information, order online, etc., your privacy may still be compromised. Check out the browser's privacy policy before use. (Because this is a newer option, you’ll need to make sure your web browser is up-to-date.)

  • Internet Explorer: open a new tab.  In the main body of the page, you should see an option to “Open an InPrivate Browsing window.”  (For more info)
  • Firefox: Click on the orange Firefox menu on the upper left corner, choose “Start Private Browsing.”  (For more info)
  • Chrome: Click the wrench icon on the browser toolbar, then select “New incognito window.” (For more info)