Family, Self

Cyberstalking And Domestic Violence: Staying Safe!

First things first- if you are in an unsafe situation right now, call the authorites, 911 or a domestic violence hotline. 

Global list of Domestic Violence hotlines and resourcesInternational Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies

If you are in a relationship that is violent or you have recently left a violent relationship then you know how dangerous and volatile your situation can become. It is no longer just about being sure you are in a safe place, locking your door, or being sure you are not being followed. Perpetrators of domestic violence are becoming more and more sophisticated, tracking their victim's every move by using technology. 

Cyberstalking is the new buzz word for this, but suffice to say, if you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, you should be very careful about your own use of technology. Be aware of who has access to your smart phone, computer or tablet and keep in mind that even if you have left the relationship, a tracking device could have been planted on your car, your phone, in your home or on your computer. Be sure to change all your passwords too. A really good formula for a password is a word you will remember but not obvious, with at least one capital letter, followed by four random numbers and with an ! or ? added when you can (example: Apple2359!)

Remember to be safe with all forms of technology- your computer, mobile devices, and GPS. If you would like to read more about how to keep yourself safe from digital stalking, you can read this guide, Digital Stalking: A Guide to Technology Risks for Victims. This guide was published jointly by Network for Surviving Stalking and Women's Aid Federation of England and offers fabulous insight into the nefarious uses of technology and what you can do to stay safe. 

If you are an advocate, coach or therapist working with or on behalf of victims, please take time to read this article that delineates appropriate intervention strategies so that you can help the victim and further deter the cyberstalker. 

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