Covering Your Tracks

Back of woman's head
Keeping Safe
Covering Your Tracks
In danger? In an emergency always call 999

Warning: if you’re worried about someone knowing you have visited this website please read the following safety information.

Please note, the information below will not completely cover your tracks.  If you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online, the safest way would be to access the internet at a local library, an internet cafe, school/college, at a friend’s house or at work.

Also, make sure that you don’t add the website address for Next Chapter to your bookmarks.  Websites that you have visited are stored on your computer as ‘temporary internet files’ and ‘cookies’.

How do I work out which browser I’m using?

If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen.  A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar.  The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.

Internet Explorer 7 & 8

Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. In the General page under Browser History, select the Delete… button.  Either select and delete each section: Temporary internet files; Cookies, History; Forms data and Passwords; or select the Delete all… button at the bottom to clear everything.

Mozilla Firefox 8

Click on Tools and Options. Firefox bundles cookies, forms and history under the heading ‘history’. Click the privacy tab, then on “clear your recent history”. Select the period you want to delete. Click on Details to select cookies, forms etc.

To delete passwords click on the security tab where you can view all the passwords saved when you browse the web. You can delete them here and remember not to allow Firefox to save them in the future.

In Firefox you (or someone accessing your computer) can actually read the passwords saved on your system. If you use the same passwords for many things consider changing them all if you have allowed your browser to save any.

You can also adjust how you want Firefox to store your data under the privacy tab.


To remove history go to History, and click Clear History.

To remove cookies go to Settings (right hand side), Preferences, Privacy tab and click Remove all Website Data (or Details to select certain sites).

Chrome, Opera and other browsers

There are many new browsers on the market, so it is always advisable to search for advice on your own browser. For example this tutorial shows you various security measures on Opera, or you can see the settings for Google Chrome.


Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”. With AOL, to remove trace of the websites you’ve visited, hold down the “control” key and the “h” key.


When you clear the cache and the history list, you erase ALL information that had been previously stored there. If your partner notices that the cache and history list have been deleted, he or she will realise that you know how to delete your tracks as well as possibly thinking that you have something to hide.

A way to avoid suspicion is after clearing the CACHE and HISTORY LIST spend some time visiting sites that you think your partner wouldn’t object to. This way, the cache and history list start to get filled up and your partner might be less likely to notice that old information is missing.


An email you have previously sent will be stored in sent Items. Go to sent items and delete emails you don’t want a person to see. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your drafts folder. Go to the draft folder to delete it.

If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.

When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird etc.) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in Deleted Items to remove them completely

If there’s a risk that someone may know how to access your emails, it’s a good idea to set up a new email account. Use a provider like Hotmail or Yahoo for an account you can access from anywhere, and use a name that is not recognisable as you, for example Keep this email secret.

If a perpetrator sends you threatening or harassing email messages, print and save the messages as evidence of this abuse and report it to police.

A woman’s partner can often tell when she makes up her mind to stop the abuse.  Do not underestimate your partner.  Always erase your tracks.

Telephone Safety

When you call Next Chapter, or any organisation that supports people experiencing domestic abuse, you must be careful to use a telephone that will not keep a record of the number you called.  Even if you call locally, if you use an Internet-based telephone system, with a name like VOIP or SKYPE, records of the call will be kept.  If your partner has access to the system, he or she will be able to identify who you have called.

Mobile phones can also keep records of the numbers that have been called.

Many telephones have a “redial” button, and you may want to call a friend or other “safe” number after you make any call you don’t want your partner to know about – they can check up on you just by pressing “redial”.

The safest way to call or to receive calls from us is from a friend’s phone, a public phone, a work phone, or any telephone that has nothing to do with your partner.

If you are in danger, call 999

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