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Tips for using this site

  • This page contains tips for using this site and other technology if you are being abused
  • There are always some risks to privacy and personal information when using technology. You always leave a digital trail so it may be important to use a safer device
  • Safer devices are things like phones or computers that a person who has been abusive or violent has not and will not be able to access
  • There may be more risks to your privacy and safety if someone who has been abusive or violent has had physical access the device you are using
  • Technology is always changing, but the more you learn, the easier it will be to use
  • This site has general information about technology and safety. If you need more advanced specialist support for technology-facilitated abuse, please see the links at the bottom of the page
  • You may want to ask a trusted person to help you with some of the suggestions on these pages.

Safety tips for this site

A person whose behaviour is violent or abusive may use technology to harass, watch, control, stalk or harm you. This type of abuse is called technology-facilitated abuse. It may be hard to know if you are being monitored with technology.

There may be times while looking at this website when you need to exit quickly. You may be worried about someone finding out that you have been looking at this site or others. It may be important to plan for what you will do in case an abusive or violent person is watching what you do online. The way you get off of this site quickly may depend on the device you are using.

Closing the page quickly

Computer and laptop users

If you are using a computer, you will see that this website has a red “exit” button near the top right-hand corner of each page.

The red “exit” button will take you out of the 1800RESPECT website and send you to the main search page on  Google. It is important to know that if you press this button, someone can easily press the “back” button on the left-hand corner to see that you were on the 1800 RESPECT site.

Another option to leave this site quickly is to close your browser window by pressing the “x” on the top right-hand corner of this window. This will take you to your desktop screen or to the program open behind this open window.

Smartphone or tablet users

To get off of our website quickly, you can use your phone’s lock button or you can press or swipe the home button on your device. It is important to know that if someone opens the search or browser app on your phone, they will be able to see what site you were on. We suggest trying these options out to see how they work on your device so that you can exit the site quickly if you need to.

Using the red exit button, closing your search app, or pressing your lock button will not delete your history. This means that if someone checks your device, they will be able to see that you have visited this website.

More quick tips

Use a safer computer or device

If you are really concerned about someone not finding out that you are visiting this website then using a safer computer or device may be a good option.

Safer devices are devices that a person who has been abusive or violent has not and will not be able to access. This is the safest thing to do if you do not want someone to know what you are doing online.

Think about changing your web browser settings before visiting certain sites

You can turn off your browser history or use your browser in private or incognito mode so it is harder to see the sites you have visited. Incognito mode is an internet browsing setting that prevents your history from being stored.

If it is safe for you, you may want to delete the names of some of the websites from your browser history that you have visited.

Many people choose to delete only the pages they do not want someone else to see that they have visited. Deleting all history may cause the browser to look or work differently.

To learn how to delete some of your browser history, you can use Google or another search engine to search for “delete browser history.” You can include the name of your browser in your search, such as Chrome, Safari, Google or Firefox.

Where do I start? Device and account safety

Planning for when or how you can use technology more safely can be an important part of helping you feel more confident and like you have more say in your own life.

If it is safe for you, there may be some things you can do to protect your information. Before you make changes with your technology it is important to think about how someone abusing you might react so that you can plan for how to stay safe.

When you start thinking about your safety and technology, devices and accounts are a good place to start. Within this technology and safety section on our website, you will find a page on device safety and a page on account safety.

  • Devices are things like smartphones, tablets, computers, and any other technology that connects to the internet.
  • Accounts are places online that hold your personal information. You can access your accounts using a web browser. Sometimes accounts have an app that can make getting into your account easier. Accounts include email, banking and social media.

Devices and accounts can help you stay in touch with the people and information that are important to you. Sometimes the information that is on your devices can also be held or backed up in an online account like iCloud or a Google account.

Sometimes people use one account, like their Facebook account, to sign up or login to other apps and accounts. It can help to learn if and how your different accounts and devices connect to each other.

Your accounts may connect through a common iCloud or Facebook account so knowing how your accounts connect may help you understand how the person abusing you is getting your information. Controlling your own devices and accounts may be important for your safety and privacy.

Think safety before making changes to your device or online accounts

We recommend making a safety plan before making changes to your device or online accounts in case it could be unsafe for you. Trust yourself. You know your situation the best.

Everyone has a right to privacy and safety. However, changing device or account settings to try to take back control from someone who has been abusive or violence could be unsafe. Some people that are being monitored choose to get rid of an old device and/or use a new device to have private conversations. Abuse is never your fault. Learning about your choices and technology may help you feel more in control of your life.

Online accounts and app safety

There are always some risks to privacy and personal information when using technology. You always leave a digital trail so it may be important to use a safer device.

  • Safer devices are devices that a person who has been abusive or violent has not and will not be able to access
  • There may be more risks to your privacy and safety if someone who has been abusive or violent has had physical access the device you are using
  • Online accounts are places on the internet, or on “the Cloud,” where you keep, update, or share your information
  • This site has general information about technology and safety. If you need more advanced specialist support for technology-facilitated abuse, please see the links at the bottom of the page
  • Technology is always changing but the more you learn, the easier it will be to use.

You may want to ask a trusted person to help you with some of the suggestions on these pages.

Account safety

A person whose behaviour is violent or abusive may use technology to harass, watch, control, or harm you. This type of abuse is called technology-facilitated abuse. It may be hard to know if you are being monitored with technology.

There are many types of technology-facilitated abuse, but most abuse tends to occur using devices and online accounts. This section covers online accounts. The last section covered devices.

Using technology can make our lives easier. For some people, like people with a disability, technology makes things possible. When someone is keeping you from being able to access technology, it can make daily tasks much harder and isolate you from other people and information you need.

Some signs of abuse through online accounts

Someone who is abusive or violent may try to control you using online accounts by doing things like:

  • sending threatening emails
  • contacting you all the time by calling, texting, emailing, or using social media
  • posting inappropriate photos or saying bad things about you
  • blocking you from getting into your accounts
  • tracking your location using apps or online accounts
  • stealing, guessing, forcing, or manipulating you to get your passwords
  • creating a fake profile to trick you and your friends into giving them information
  • using the private information they learned in your relationship to steal from your accounts.

Abuse is never your fault. Learning about your choices and technology may help you feel more in control of your life.

Think safety before making changes to your online accounts

We recommend making a safety plan and getting support before making changes to your device or online accounts in case it could be unsafe for you. Trust yourself. You know your situation the best.

Everyone has a right to privacy and safety. However, changing your device or account settings to try to take back control from someone who has been abusive or violent could be unsafe.

Some people that are being monitored choose to get rid of an old device and/or use a new device to have private conversations. Creating brand new accounts that do not connect with old accounts may help you stay safer, too.

Online accounts and apps keep us connected

If you can control and get into your accounts, it can help you stay in touch with the people and information that are important to you.

Accounts usually need an internet connection to access them. Most accounts ask for a username and password. The most common ways people connect to the internet to use their online accounts is through an app or a web browser, such Chrome or Safari.

Some examples of the accounts and apps that connect to the internet are:

  • Social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, TicTok, and Instagram
  • Email accounts like Gmail and Hotmail
  • Messaging accounts like Skype, Messenger, and WhatsApp
  • Banking, public transit, toll and utility accounts
  • Government accounts like MyGov, Centrelink, Medicare, MyHealth Record and NDIS
  • Entertainment accounts like Netflix, Stan, and Spotify
  • Cloud storage accounts like Dropbox, iCloud and OneDrive
  • Phone and internet accounts like Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus
  • Health and wellness accounts to schedule appointments, order prescriptions or keep personal records.

How to protect your online accounts

When someone is being abusive or violent towards you, controlling your own accounts may not be possible. When the time is right, knowing how to protect your accounts may be a way to stay safer. Here are some things that you can do to protect your accounts:

Passwords

Strong passwords that nobody could guess can help protect your information. Here are some tips to make your passwords stronger:

  • Use different passwords for each account
  • Use upper and lowercase letters
  • Use numbers and special symbols (like #$%&)
  • Make passwords long and easy to remember but hard for other people to guess. You can also use a phrase if that is easier.

Two-step authentication (2SA)

An extra security option for your accounts is to sign up for two-step authentication when the timing is right for you.

Two-step authentication is an extra security setting that you can sign up for. It will contact you by email, text, or call each time someone tries to sign into one of your accounts.

Safer account habits to consider

  • Log out of your accounts as soon as you are finished using them. Closing the window or app might not sign you out
  • Create and use online accounts from a safer device that the person abusing you has never accessed
  • Do not allow browsers to save your username and password information
  • Try to read the privacy policies of services before you give them your information. Many apps or online accounts use your information and may share it with others
  • Think before you post. Your pictures and posts may give away your location or other personal data that could be used against you
  • Use non-identifying account information when you can. For example, avoid using your real name or birthday to create your email address
  • Check the privacy and security settings within each app or account
  • It might take more time, but it is more secure to create a username and password for each account instead of signing in using your Facebook or Google login details
  • Request that companies provide you with extra account security, such as a PIN or codeword.

Learn how accounts are linked

Your main accounts, like your email, iCloud, and OneDrive accounts, are the most important to keep safe. If someone abusing you has access to a main account, they may be able to get into your other accounts.

It is common for things, like pictures with location information, to be backed up and stored in your online cloud storage accounts. Sometimes your main accounts, like your email address, will automatically add things it knows, like your contacts, to a new device.

Creating more than one email address for different uses can help you protect your information. Sometimes setting up new accounts at different companies or with different email addresses that do not link to old addresses can keep your information safer.

Device safety

  • Devices are types of technology that usually connect to the internet, such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer
  • There are always some risks to privacy and personal information when using technology. You always leave a digital trail so it may be important to use a safer device
  • Safer devices are things like phones or computers that a person who has been abusive or violent has not and will not be able to access
  • There may be more risks to your privacy and safety if someone who has been abusive or violent has had physical access the device you are using
  • This site has general information about technology and safety. If you need more advanced specialist support for technology-facilitated abuse, please see the links at the bottom of the page
  • Technology is always changing but the more you learn, the easier it will be to use
  • You may want to ask a trusted person to help you with some of the suggestions on these pages.

Devices and safety

A person whose behaviour is violent or abusive may use technology to harass, watch, control, or harm you. This type of abuse is called technology-facilitated abuse. It may be hard to know if you are being monitored with technology.

There are many types of technology-facilitated abuse, but most abuse tends to occur using devices and online accounts. This page covers devices. The previous page covers online accounts.

Using technology can make our lives easier. When someone is keeping you from being able to access technology, it can make daily tasks much harder and can isolate you from other people and information that you need.

Some signs of abuse using a device

Someone who is abusive or violent may try to control you through your device by doing things like:

  • Breaking it
  • Taking it from you
  • Cutting off or controlling your mobile service
  • Monitoring what you do on your device
  • Cutting off or controlling your data limit
  • Sending your colleagues, friends or other people messages from your account without your consent, with the aim of ruining your reputation or your relationships
  • Changing your device’s settings so that your device is less private and secure or harder for you to use
  • Threatening or posting private things from your device online
  • Impersonating you to get private information about you from others
  • Installing spyware or stalkerware onto your device.

Abuse is never your fault. Learning about your choices and technology may help you feel more in control of your life.

Think safety before making changes to your device

We recommend making a safety plan and getting support before making changes to your device or online accounts in case it could be unsafe for you. Trust yourself. You know your situation the best.

Everyone has a right to privacy and safety. However, changing your device settings to try to take back control from someone who has been abusive or violent could be unsafe.

Some people that are being monitored choose to get rid of an old device and/or use a new device to have private conversations. Creating brand new accounts that do not connect with old accounts may help you stay safer, too. If you can control and get into your accounts and devices it can help you stay in touch with the people and information that is important to you.

Devices' settings can often be changes for privacy and safety

The most common devices are smartphones, computers, and tablets. But any device that connects to the internet, or “the Cloud,” may  have the ability to learn and share information about you.

Some examples of other devices that may be able to connect to the internet are:

  • Health trackers
  • Smart appliances, lightbulbs and temperature controls
  • Smart home virtual assistants
  • Toys and entertainment systems
  • Newer cars
  • GPS (location) trackers
  • Smart assistive technologies and environmental aids
  • Cameras and voice recorders.

These types of devices that can collect and share information over the internet are a part of the “Internet of Things.” Any device or online account that a person who is abusive or violent has had access to might be less private or secure.

Types of device settings and what they do

Your devices will generally have privacy, security, accessibility, and location settings. You can learn about these settings now and change them when it is safe for you.

Some smart home devices that connect to the internet, such as smart plugs, are controlled through another device, like a smartphone. Similarly, location trackers can be placed on your vehicle or belongings to give someone abusing you information on their device about where you are going.

Other types of devices, such as environmental controls used by people with disabilities, have settings that can be modified using a person’s pressure, breath, or eyebrow movement.

Changing settings on devices can help make your information more private and secure.

However, devices are only one part of technology safety.

Keep in mind that each app or online account may have its own privacy, security, accessibility, and location settings, too. We talk about how to secure your online accounts on the previous page.

Accessible technology and safety

Smartphones, tablets and computers

Smartphones, tablets, and computers can be used to give people with disabilities to make more things possible. These devices connect to the internet, and most have a touch screen.

Settings and apps can be changed or added to help you do things like:

  • Use the device even if it is difficult to touch the screen or a keyboard
  • Connect adaptive accessories, such as hearing aids and switches
  • Use RTT / TTY (real-time text / tele-typewriter) to communicate
  • Control smart home devices such as lighting, temperature, doorbells, TVs, and locks
  • Adjust screen settings to make things easier to see
  • Know where ramps, elevators, accessible toilets and exits are located
  • Control money and accounts
  • Stay in touch with others by using things like video relay service (VRS), social media, texting, video chat, email and “walkie-talkie” style voice recording apps.

A person whose behaviour is violent or abusive may use technology to harass, watch, control, or harm you.

This type of abuse is called technology-facilitated abuse, and it can happen to people with a disability. The abuse is never your fault. The other technology and safety pages on this website have information that may be important to you.

We recommend making a safety plan and getting support before making changes to your device or online accounts in case it could be unsafe for you. Trust yourself. You know your situation the best.

How to get help with your devices

Because technology is always changing, a good way to learn how to change privacy, security, accessibility, and location settings on your devices is to search online. One way to figure out what to search for is to ask a question that makes you curious.

You can search on Google or YouTube to learn how to do things like:

  • Limit what apps can see the contacts you have stored on your device
  • Turn off or limit location tracking on your whole device or just in certain apps
  • Lock your device using a security PIN, pattern, fingerprint or face recognition.

Try adding the make and model of your device in your search to get the most accurate information.

Here are some ideas for things you could type in a search:

Once you start typing, most search engines will give you ideas based on their most popular searches.

Devices at risk of spyware and stalkerware

Spyware and stalkerware are types of programs or apps that can be put on devices that connect to the internet, usually without you knowing. They send your private information to another person.

Spyware and stalkerware can show someone what you do on your device even when they are not with you. This can include things like emails, texts, pictures, your location, your conversations and even what your device’s camera or microphone sees or hears.

Spyware and stalkerware can be a risk to anyone whose device has been accessed by someone who is abusive.

What you can do if you have spyware or stalkerware on your device

Spyware is hard to find and often hides on a device so that you cannot see it. Stalkerware is usually disguised as another type of useful app such as a parental monitoring app or an anti-theft app.

Some people that suspect spyware or stalkerware keep using their device normally, but they may also use a safer device to share information they want to keep private.

It is important to trust your instincts. If you sense that you are being monitored, the bottom of this page lists places where you can get specialised help with technology-facilitated abuse.

A safety check-up for devices

Here are a few tips to keeping yourself and your devices safer:

  • Install regular software updates immediately
  • Keep your devices charged. Hide a spare phone, charger, or power bank for emergencies
  • Do not leave your device with anyone else, even for a short time
  • Set your devices to lock immediately after use
  • Think about the benefits and risks of transferring data from an old device to a new device
  • Learn about what information is stored on your device and and whether or not it is also backed-up and stored online (usually through a cloud storage app like iCloud or OneDrive). You can change the settings in your device to store only what you want to in the Cloud.