Tips for covering your tracks if you are experiencing abuse

If you are a victim of violence, you may put yourself at risk if your abuser is able to “track” your computer use of the internet or email, if they identify the last telephone number you called, if they receive or access your voice mail or text messages, or if they can check your telephone bill for phone numbers called.

For safe computer use:

  • Do a Web search on “cover your tracks” or “cyberstalking”.
  • Check internet resources specific for victims of domestic violence and follow their instructions on internet and email safety, for example:
    • The Assaulted Women’s Helpline provides detailed instructions on “Erasing Your Tracks”
    • Find and use a computer at a public library, an internet café, at the home of a trusted friend, a shelter for women, school, other community resources, or at work.
    • Use an email password that your abuser will not know or be able to guess.  Do not write down your password.

For safe telephone use:

  • Change your access code for phone messages if your abuser knows the code used.  Do not write down your access code.
  • Find and use a public telephone, or use a secure telephone at work or of a trusted friend.
  • Have a trusted friend or co-worker receive telephone messages for you (for example, if you are receiving calls from a lawyer, local shelter, police, etc.)
  • When people are leaving you voice or text messages, ask them to be careful and to not identify the nature of the call or service (e.g.:  that they are phoning with information about protective orders or safety planning, or confirming an appointment with a lawyer or the Crown Attorney, etc.)

One way your employer or union might be able to assist you is to allow you to use workplace or union resources – such as computers or telephones – to find information, so long as these resources are not available to your abuser.  Co-workers, managers, union representatives or others in the workplace might be willing to receive messages on your behalf or help you to find resources.