Creating a Domestic Abuse Safety Plan for Technology

Person holding a secured mobile phone after creating a domestic abuse safety plan for technology

In today’s digital age, technology is a crucial part of our lives. We use it for work, socialising, entertainment, and staying connected with loved ones. However, for survivors of domestic abuse, technology can also be a weapon used by abusers to control and monitor their victims. Digital abuse is a form of domestic abuse that can include harassment, stalking, and threats via technology. As such, it is essential to create a domestic abuse safety plan for technology to protect yourself from digital abuse.

In this article, we will discuss how to create a domestic abuse safety plan for technology. We will cover the following topics:

  • Assess your risk level
  • Secure your devices and accounts
  • Change your online behaviour
  • Seek support
  • Check Privacy Settings
  • Get Professional Help

Assess Your Risk Level Whilst Creating A Domestic Abuse Safety Plan

Assessing your risk level is a crucial step in creating a technology safety plan for domestic abuse. Knowing your level of risk can help you determine the appropriate measures you need to take to ensure your safety. It’s important to understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.

To assess your risk level, consider the following factors

  • The severity and frequency of the abuse you’ve experienced: If the abuse has been ongoing and severe, your risk level may be higher.
  • Your abuser’s behaviour and patterns: Has your abuser shown signs of escalating behaviour, such as becoming more controlling or violent? Are they more likely to use technology to stalk or harass you?
  • Your abuser’s access to technology: Does your abuser have access to your devices or online accounts? Are they tech-savvy enough to use hacking or spyware tools to monitor your activity?
  • Your own habits and patterns: Do you use technology frequently, and for what purposes? Are there any specific apps, websites, or social media platforms that your abuser may be more likely to monitor or use to harass you?

Secure Your Devices

When it comes to securing your devices and accounts, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from potential digital threats from an abuser.

First and foremost, make sure all of devices are password protected with strong, unique passwords that are difficult to guess. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, and consider using a password manager to keep track of them all.

Furthermore, it’s also important to keep all of your software up to date with the latest security patches and updates. This includes your operating system, web browser, and any other software applications you use. Outdated software can contain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain access to your device or accounts.

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts. It requires two forms of identification before allowing access to your accounts. This could include a password and a code sent to your phone or email. You can enable 2FA on most social media platforms and email services.

Lastly, geolocation services allow applications to access your location, which can be useful for navigation or finding local services. However, it can also be used to track your movements, which is a significant concern if you are trying to keep your location hidden from an abuser. You can turn off geolocation services in your device settings and on individual apps.

Change Your Online Behaviour

Changing your online behaviour is an essential part of creating a domestic abuse safety plan for technology. It is important to recognise that abusers may use technology to monitor and control their victim’s online activity. Therefore, altering how you interact online can help you maintain a level of privacy and reduce the risk of abuse.

One key step to changing your online behaviour is to be mindful of the information you share on social media platforms. Abusers may use public information, such as your location, to track your movements and use it against you. Avoid sharing your location or any other personal details that could be used to identify you.

Additionally, it is important to be cautious of the types of conversations you have online. Avoid discussing sensitive topics or sharing personal information with people you don’t know well or don’t trust. It is also recommended to avoid using video conferencing tools, like Zoom, that may be compromised or allow for remote surveillance.

Lastly, another aspect of changing your online behaviour is limiting your use of technology in certain situations. For example, avoid using your phone or computer in areas where you feel particularly vulnerable, such as in public places or at home if your abuser is nearby. Instead, consider using a trusted friend’s device or a public computer to access the internet.

Seek Support To Create A Domestic Abuse Safety Plan

It’s essential to have a support network when creating a technology safety plan to protect yourself from domestic abuse. This can include friends, family, or a professional support system such as a therapist or support group.

There are also many organisations and resources available to help those experiencing domestic abuse. In the UK, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a free and confidential service that can provide advice, support and information to anyone experiencing domestic abuse. They can also refer you to local support services that can help you create a safety plan.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Seeking support can help you feel less isolated and more empowered to take control of your situation. Remember, your safety is the top priority, and there are people and resources available to help you.

Check Privacy Settings

Checking your privacy settings is an essential step in creating a domestic abuse safety plan for technology. This involves reviewing the privacy settings on all of your devices and social media accounts to ensure that they are set to the highest level of security.

Firstly, start by reviewing your privacy settings on your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Setting your profile to private will ensure that only people you know can see your posts and personal information. You may also want to limit the amount of personal information you share on these platforms, such as your home address or phone number.

If you are concerned about your online privacy, you can also use tools such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and secure messaging apps to protect your data and communications. VPNs encrypt your internet connection, making it harder for someone to monitor your online activity. Secure messaging apps, such as Signal or WhatsApp, use end-to-end encryption, therefore will protect your messages from interception.

Get Professional Help To Create A Domestic Abuse Safety Plan

Getting professional help can be crucial in creating a comprehensive domestic abuse safety plan. A therapist can help you understand your risk level and guide you on what actions to take. Additionally, legal aid organizations can provide advice on legal issues such as obtaining a restraining order. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. There is support available to help you stay safe.

In conclusion, technology can be a powerful tool for connecting with others, but it can also pose a significant risk for those experiencing domestic abuse. By taking proactive steps to protect your digital safety and privacy, you can reduce the risk of your abuser accessing your personal information and monitoring your online activity.

Remember to seek professional help if you are experiencing domestic abuse, as they can provide you with the support and guidance you need to create a comprehensive safety plan.


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