The perpetrator of domestic abuse may try to see what you have been doing on the internet. It might be better looking at these pages in the library (it’s free), or some other safe place. If you are viewing them at home, it is possible to make it harder for someone else to see what you have been doing and so increase your safety.
The information on this page is a guide only – it may not completely hide your tracks in every case.
If an abuser has access to your email account, they may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. If you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password that an abuser will not be able to guess.
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing e-mails, you can print them and save them as evidence.
Pages you’ve viewed
If an abuser knows how to read your computer’s ‘history’ or ‘cache’ file (automatically saved web pages and graphics), they may be able to see which pages you have viewed recently. You can clear this file to cover your tracks. What you do depends on which internet browser you’re using – that’s the software you open to get onto the web.
Here are some common browsers. If your computer uses another type of browser not mentioned below, look at the browser’s ‘Help’ facility to find out what to do.
Internet Explorer 5 & 6
Go to the ‘Tools’ menu and and pick ‘Internet Options’. Go to the ‘Content’ tab; under ‘Personal Information’, pick ‘Auto Complete’ and then pick ‘Clear forms’.
Internet Explorer 7
Go to the ‘Tools’ menu and pick ‘Delete browsing history’. Then pick ‘Delete all’. This clears the history of the pages you have looked at (see above) and removes the remembered forms and searches at the same time.
If you only want to remove the remembered forms and searches (and keep the pages history); go to the ‘Tools’ menu and pick ‘Delete browsing history’. Then pick ‘Delete forms’.
Internet Explorer 8
Go to the ‘Tools’ menu and pick ‘Delete browsing history’. Make sure the boxes for all the options shown are ticked and click on ‘Delete’.
Internet Explorer 9
Go to the ‘Tools’ menu choose ‘safety’ and then ‘Delete browsing history’. Make sure the boxes for all the options shown are ticked and click on ‘Delete’.
View detailed instructions on the Firefox website.
On newer versions of netscape, go to the ‘Edit’ menu, and pick ‘Preferences’. Pick ‘Navigator’ and choose ‘Clear History’. Pick ‘Advanced’ then select ‘Cache’. Pick ‘Clear Disk Cache’.
On older versions of Netscape; go to the ‘Options’ menu. Pick Network Options, Select Cache. Pick ‘Clear Disk Cache’.
Clear your entire browsing history
- Click the spanner icon on the browser toolbar.
- Select Tools.
- Select Clear browsing data.
- In the dialogue that appears, select the “Clear browsing history” checkbox.
- Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Select beginning of time to clear your entire browsing history.
- Click Clear browsing data.
The following information is removed when you clear your browsing history:
- Web addresses that you’ve visited, listed on the History page
- Cached text of pages that you’ve visited
- Snapshots of your most frequently visited pages on the New Tab page
- Any IP addresses prefetched from pages that you’ve visited
Click the gear icon in the upper-right corner, and select Reset Safari. In the resulting pop-up menu, check the items that you want to clear; then press the Reset button to purge your data.
Searches and forms
Many computers are set up to remember form entries – including things you have searched for on a search engine, such as Google, Bing, Ask or Yahoo. For example, if you search for ‘domestic abuse’, the computer may ‘remember’ this. The next time somebody searches for a word beginning with the letter ‘d’, the phrase ‘domestic abuse’ will pop up automatically as a suggested entry – showing that person that you have searched for that subject.
To clear these remembered searches and forms:
Other web browsers
If your computer uses another type of browser not listed here, look at the browser’s ‘Help’ facility to find out what to do. ‘Help’ is usually one of the main menu items.