If you are in an abusive situation, please know that your computer use can be monitored as it is nearly impossible to completely clear all the “footprints” of your computer usage. If you are in danger, please call the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley’s 24-hour Crisis Hotline at (540) 639-1123 or toll free at (800) 788-1123 (regional access) and/or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. You also may call 911.

Computers can create records in hundreds of ways of everything you do on the computer and on the Internet. If you feel your computer activity is being monitored, then it probably is. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don't need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone's computer activities - anyone can do it, and there are many ways to monitor, including special software that monitors every keystroke made on the computer.

We recommend that you please try to use a safer computer where someone abusive does not have direct access or even remote (hacking) access. It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a community technology center (CTC) (national directory), at a trusted friend's house, or at an Internet Café.

Computers can provide a lot of information about what you look at on the Internet, the emails you send, and other activities. It is not possible to delete or clear all computer "footprints.”

If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, you might consider not using your home computer’s Internet or censor the sites you use on your home computer. A good example would be that if you are planning to flee to Michigan, you don't look at classified ads for jobs, apartments or bus tickets for Michigan on your home computer or any computer your abuser has physical or remote access to. Use a “safe” computer to research an escape plan.

Also, do not include information in your email address book that would identify or locate contacts you don’t want your abuser to know about.

For additional information and assistance, look at the following websites: