If someone tries to control your behaviour online, or you are scared that you will get into trouble for looking at sites about family violence, that is never OK.


Although there are ways of hiding the websites you have been looking at, there is a risk involved with removing data from your computer. For example, if cookies or address history on the PC has been cleared this may raise suspicion.


If you are worried about getting in trouble for seeking help, the safest way to find information on the internet would be at a local library, a friend's house, or at work.  


For more information about keeping safe online you can go to: www.netsafe.org.nz.


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.

You could also open a new email account through Gmail or Hotmail that you can keep private.

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing e-mail messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse.

Most internet browsers now offer an option to surf the internet without adding pages to the history or cache. Simply right click on the browser logo (e.g. Internet Explorer or Firefox) and select to open a private window. In some applications, this may be called 'New incognito window' or other. 


Instructions for private browsing



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 information you have viewed recently on the internet. You can clear your history or empty your cache file in your browser's settings.


If you have a very tech-savvy and suspicious partner:

They may check your temporary files and cookies folder. Details from most sites visited are sent here automatically. These are not viewable in the browser history once you have deleted it using the methods below but they are still saved to a drive on the computer.


Deleting your ENTIRE browsing history could act as a red flag that you are covering your tracks. If your partner knows that people in the house are using the internet it will be suspicious to find no or very few sites listed in the browser history.

Because of this we recommend only deleting the sites you do not want them to see. For example instead of emptying the entire folder you could follow the instructions for 'viewing history' and then right-click on each individual site you want deleted and select 'delete'. 


Instructions on how to clear history