American Bar Association
Tips to increase safety
For Netscape Navigator
For Internet Explorer
Other browsers will be slightly different, but in any case, what you need to do is reduce your CACHE ("temporary files") and HISTORY list. Please remember that erasing these lists is not infallible; a computer expert may still be able to trace any websites that were visited. Still, these precautionary steps will help decrease the likelihood of discovering the users previously visited sites.
After clearing your cache, you may want to visit other sites that you think your partner would NOT object to; that way, the missing information is less likely to be noticed.
HOW AN ABUSER CAN DISCOVER YOUR INTERNET ACTIVITIES
History/cache file: If an abuser knows how to read your computer's history or cache file (automatically saved web pages and graphics), he or she 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.*
Additionally, a victim needs to make sure that the "Use Inline Autocomplete" box is NOT checked. This function will complete a partial web address while typing a location in the address bar at the top of the browser. If you are using Internet Explorer, this box can be found on the MS Internet Explorer Page by clicking on "Tools" at the top of the screen, then "Internet Options," and then the "Advanced" tab. About halfway down there is a "Use Inline AutoComplete" box that can be checked and unchecked by clicking on it. Uncheck the box to disable the feature that automatically completes an Internet address when you start typing in the Internet address box.
*This information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the Internet would be at a local library, a friend's house, or at work.
What is Abuse?
The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as,
"a pattern of behavior where one person tries to control the thoughts, beliefs, or actions of a partner, friend or any other person close to them. While the violence may cause injury, it does not have to be physical. Domestic violence also takes the form of emotional, verbal, mental, sexual and economic abuse."
Domestic Violence can impact any person at any time in his or her life. Domestic violence impacts people of all race, religion, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation and income levels. Although any person can be affected by abuse, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that more than 90% of all the victims of domestic violence are female.
In 2000, 41,740 women were victims of rape/sexual assault committed by an intimate partner. Bureau of Justice Statistic Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence 1993-2001, February 2003.
In 2001, more than half a million American women (588,490 women) were victims of non-fatal violence committed by an intimate partner. Bureau of Justice Statistic Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence 1993-2001, February 2003.
Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Silverman, J. G., Raj, A., Mucci, L. A., & Hathaway, J. E. (2001). Dating violence against adolescent girls and associated substance use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, suicidality. JAMS, 286 (5).
Husbands and boyfriends commit an estimated 13,000 acts of violence against women in the workplace each year. U.S. Department of Justice, 1994.
In figures reflective of the general population, 1 in 4 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people are battered by a partner. (Jane Doe, Inc.)
When children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90% are under the age of 10; 56% are under the age of 2. Florida's Governor's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Mortality Review Project, 1997, p.51, table 28.
As a result of domestic violence, 96 % of abused employees experience problems at work; 74% are harassed by the abuser while at work; 56% are late to work; 28% leave work early; and 54% miss entire days of work. American Institute on Domestic Violence.
In Fiscal Year 2005, more than 33,000 women, men and children were served by community-based domestic violence programs in Massachusetts. Jane Doe, Inc Service Delivery Report.
During calendar year 2005, 28760 Orders of Abuse Prevention, commonly referred to as restraining orders or 209As, were issued: 82% of the defendants were male. During this same time period, 4,347 adults (88% of whom were men) were arraigned for violating restraining orders. Research Department, Field Services Division, Office of the Commissioner of Probation, Boston, MA
During calendar year 2007, there were 55 deaths related to domestic violence. This is an increase of approximately 289% over calendar year 2005. Jane Doe, Inc.
Warning Signs of Abuse
Does your partner...
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy and/or abusive relationship. There can be warning flags that a relationship is not healthy. Other warning signs include, but are not limited to:
You are not alone and support is available.
Dove, Inc. provides a 24-hour confidential hotline where you can talk about your relationship and discuss safety issues and concerns.
It's important to remember that you are not responsible for your partner's actions or words.
Games Batterers Play
Threats of suicide: Occasionally attempts are made, but rarely succeed. Makes victim feel responsible for their partner's well being.
Threats to kill victim or the children: Certainly the most fear producing threat. May involve hunting for the victim or brandishing weapons. Can produce paralyzing fear.
Threaten mythical legal actions and sanctions: the most common threat is taking away child custody because of desertion.
Harass or threaten relatives or friends: makes victim feel responsible for the safety of these people. Often follows through with this threat.
Burns clothes or belongings: a symbolic gesture, which alternatively enrages and depresses the victim.
Organizes a posse of relatives and friends, including in-laws, to search for and convince the victim of her/his mistake: can be very overwhelming and powerful.
Reports that the abuser (or a close friend or relative) has been in a car accident and has been hospitalized: this fake report is very effective in flushing a victim from hiding and leaving them off guard for other tricks.
Cry, saying he/she can't live without the victim: guilt and a sense of responsibility for abuser's life is difficult to shake.
Promise to get counseling: usually won't follow through, but sometimes will go only to focus on how to get the victim back. Will usually discontinue when and if victim returns home. Couples counseling is very dangerous for victims of domestic violence and is strongly discouraged.
Makes promises in general: won't hit again, will clean house, give up drinking or drugs, get rid of guns, go to work, etc.
Develops psychosomatic complaints: can't eat, can't sleep, nausea, etc. Again, guilt and responsibility make it tough to ignore.
These are only a few of the many possible "games" batterers may play. Victims who have not been helped to anticipate these "games" could quite effectively be forced to return to unchanged situations, only to find the threats and promises very short-lived. (adapted from Susan Swala, RDVIC, Morgantown,; Domestic Violence Project at WMLS/Americorps Spring 2003 Western Massachusetts Legal Services, Inc. 152 North Street, Suite E M, Pittsfield, MA 01201)
Domestic Abuse & Children
Each year, an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to violence by family members against their mothers and caretakers. American Psychl. Ass'n, Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 11.
In homes where partner abuse occurs, children are 1,500 times more likely to be abused. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Family Violence: Interventions for the Justice System, 1993.
In a national survey of more than 2,000 American families, approximately 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children. Strauss & Gelles, Physical Violence in Families, 1990.
Slightly more than half of female victims of intimate partner violence live in households with children under age 12. U.S. Dept. of Justice, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends and Girlfriends, March 1998.
Unfortunately, children are impacted by family violence, even if they are in other rooms or have gone to bed. Children can hear the fighting; they can sense the tension in the room; they can see the aftermath of the abuse. Children may see their parent crying or the bruises and marks left behind; they may hear the sirens and see the police officers, EMT's and the chaos that is happening in their homes.
It is important to remember that children are not just "little adults". They may not be able, or know how, to talk about what they have seen or are feeling. Children who are exposed to domestic violence may develop emotional, cognitive, or behavioral problems. Childhood symptoms of exposure to domestic abuse may include, but are not limited to:
What You Can Do to Help a Child Exposed to Domestic Abuse
Domestic Abuse and Pets
Many people who chose to abuse their partners or child will also abuse family pets. Abusers do this to:
DOVE recognizes that pets are family members too. We work with survivors to find safe housing options for their pets if they chose to enter shelter. We also work with survivors to develop safety plans that include family pets.
Online Resources Include:
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