People in abusive relationships are usually very aware of the dangers they face.

They take steps on a daily basis to keep themselves and their family members as safe as possible. Yet staying safe is usually only part of the concern. Often, keeping safe is weighed against standing up for their integrity, dignity and/or values.

Connecting with friends and families through social media and texting can be convenient and form an important part of any emotional support system.
But with an abusive relationship, being online and using devices like smartphones can be another area of safety risk.

Here are some things you might want to consider:

Before joining any online community (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) or writing a blog, consider who can see your information. For instance, whenever you post a picture, it is possible for someone to figure out where you live, who else lives there, your commuting patterns, who you spend time with, etc.

Privacy Settings and Passwords

  • Check privacy settings on all social media sites you use
  • Control who can access your information
  • Check this information often as it changes
  • If you can do it safely, change passwords on any bank accounts or online accounts and keep the password private.
  • Google your own name to see where there is information about you
  • Set up a Google Alert (free) for your own name to know when or if new information about you is posted somewhere.

Deciding where and how to take part in online communities

Consider removing all of your accounts and pages, like Facebook.

  • A different account can be created under a name that cannot be guessed by those who know you.
  • Your partner may learn information about you through family and friends in common
  • Your children may also share information so helping them with their privacy settings is useful.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Stalking

Cell phone and smartphone settings can be set to disable Global Positioning Systems (GPS) so that your device does not tell someone else where you are. NOTE: a 9-1-1 operator will still be able to know your location to help you in a crisis, even if your GPS is disabled.

Getting help from the police

If you are being stalked, try not to communicate with the abuser.
If you go to the police for help, the police will advise that you clearly communicate once to the stalker that you don’t want contact.

It will help police help you if you have print copies of all unwanted communication plus a record (date and time) of all unwanted contact.**

Every cell and smartphone manufacturer provides information online to help you adjust settings. As well, Facebook and other online communities have ‘Help’ sections that offer safety suggestions and considerations for you and for your children.