Goldman School of Public Policy - University of California, Berkeley

Using Your Computer to Seek Domestic Violence Help

Protect Yourself by Using the Internet Safely

Computers keep track to the sites you visit on the Internet, the emails you send and other activities, so using your computer to research domestic violence help can be risky.

There are hundreds of ways that computers record everything you do on the Internet. Although it is possible to clear some traces of what you do — by deleting files or hiding passwords — it is never possible to completely clear all computer records.

Your abuser does not need to be a computer programmer to monitor your computer activities. He does not even need physical access to your computer in order to track you. If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are.

Suggestions to Protect Your Safety

It is best to do research on safe computers — ones to which your abuser does not have direct or indirect access. These may be computers at Internet cafés, local libraries or at the houses of trusted friends. Avoid using public access computers that ask you to provide personal information, like your driver's license or credit card number.

Your personal safety is best protected when using the Internet in certain situations, so we offer the following suggestions:

  • Use a safer computer.
  • Use an account your abuser does not know about.
  • Create different and difficult passwords for your email.
  • Avoid posting personal abuse information to a blog or social networking site.

Because your computer use is often traceable, calling a domestic violence hotline can be your best option. If you are seeking legal representation, we advise you to contact the American Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1-866-US-WOMEN (1-866-879-6636).

For more information on internet and computer safety, please visit the Women's Center, Inc.'s Web site.