Anybody suffering or experience any level of domestic abuse tends to turn to the internet for some advice and support. The power of the internet and what’s available to those in need is really great – it can help provide greater safety and a whole platform of resources and advice.
Unfortunately using the internet and the many functions within it can hold additional risks that we all must be aware of in order to understand how to stay safe online. The key to staying safe involves changing your online activity. Taking additional precautions to better protect your location, identity and anonymity are some ways you can achieve this.
The following tips and advice will help toward that, but can’t guarantee you’ll be kept from harm at all times. If you do feel as though you’re at a significant level of risk of harm then seeking professional care and help is highly encouraged, there’s always someone ready to listen.
Apply the following simple steps and stay vigilant at all times – this will help to keep you safe online.
- 1. Create a new email
If you’re being emailed by an unwanted contact or receiving any form of abuse electronically, blocking that contact is a good start. This, however, can be overcome should they persist to create new email accounts to reach you from. Creating a brand new email, under a different account is a safer, more effective way of blocking all contact.
- Anonymise your email
Unless needed for work purposes when you change your email address you should avoid using your name in any part of it. Making your email anonymous will prevent them from identifying you. In order to ensure this, don’t include any name, birth date, age, location, ethnicity, work descriptor or other characteristic that may give any of your identity away. Once you’ve anonymised your email send out a dummy email to yourself or a close friend/family member and check if your name appears in the sender field to ensure you’ve thoroughly anonymised your account.
- Create multiple accounts
It’s a good idea to consider splitting your email account up and creating multiple. You can have an account for trusted and close contacts, another for website registration purposes, one for online banking, finance and PayPal accounts, and lastly create one for those who know both you and your abuser. That way if a mutual contact gives out your email all the rest will be safe.
- Choose a strong password
The key thing to remember when creating a strong password is they don’t have to be hard to create, they just need to be difficult to guess. Have a different password for every site you use that requires logins and never include obvious letter or number sequences like abc/123. It’s also worth setting passwords on your personal files and folders on your laptop or desktop. Simple guides to do this are available online and will add an extra layer of safety to your personal information.
- Delete your social account and remake new ones
It’s likely your abuser will refer to your social accounts most out of any form of online contact and the likelihood is you’ll be inclined to use/check these platforms the most. Social Media is like second nature in some cases these days, and the more people you connect with the wider and more exposed you become. Deleting all accounts is wise and when creating new ones keep really strict security measures on each. Be careful who you befriend online because you may find yourself in a compromising situation because of social sharing that is out of your control.
Seek professional advice and support
There are many ways to utilise and stay protected online and on your computer, but the bottom line is no matter what circumstance, nobody should be experiencing domestic abuse, nor should they have to sit in silence. We encourage you to seek professional help in order to address your situation and to gain the support and help you need.