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Protect your online history

What you see on the web can be tracked if someone has access to your computer. Here is some basic information on what to do if someone is likely to check up on your internet and/or email use. Women’s Aid has useful additional advice on its website also.

Safety information

As you surf the internet, your internet browser will save save certain information such as which sites you have visited, files you’ve downloaded and images you’ve viewed.

If you are worried that an abuser may have access to your computer, you can cover your tracks by taking a few simple precautions outlined below.

However, all of this information may not completely hide your tracks. If you have any doubts, you might prefer to use a friend’s computer, a work computer or visit a local library or internet cafe to ensure that you are safe.

Deleting cookies, files and internet history

If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you don’t know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.

Internet Explorer
Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options.
On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files:
Click on Delete Cookies and then OK
Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labeled Delete all offline content and then OK
Under History, click on Clear History and then OK
Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.

Firefox/Netscape
Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy.
Click on History and then Clear Browsing History Now.
Click on Saved forms and then Clear Saved Forms Data Now.
Click on Passwords and then untick Remember Passwords.
Click on Download History and then Clear Download History Now.
Click on Cookies and then Clear Cookies Now.
Click on Cache and then Clear Cache Now.
Alternatively to quickly erase all private data click on Tools and then Clear Private Data button (or ctrl+shift+delete on the keyboard).

Opera
Click on Tools and then Preferences.
Click on the Advanced tab and then the History section on the left-hand side.
Click the two Clear buttons and the Empty Now button

Email
If an abuser has access to your email account, they may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. Make sure that you choose a password that an abuser will not be able to guess – and change it regularly, just in case. Delete emails from your sent items and from your deleted items.

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing e-mails, make sure you print and save them. Although you may be tempted to delete them, especially if they are distressing – they are evidence and may help you prove that a criminal offence has been committed.