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Does technology endanger domestic violence victims?

When faced with a domestic violence situation, many individuals in Florida and other states are unable to clearly think about all the ramifications of the situation and their actions. Often, a response is about survival. One thing that may be important to surviving and getting out of an abusive situation is understanding how technology might put you at greater risk.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline states on its webpage that technology can be used both as a safety mechanism or as a way to further jeopardize someone's safety. The site points out that control and power often play a role in an abusive relationship, which can lead to the abuser using technology to track the movements and actions of the other person. They might also hack into social media pages or review activity on cellphones, looking for evidence that control is in jeopardy.

Computer history cannot be completely erased, and someone with tech capabilities can see what sites you have visited. If you feel you are being monitored or watched, the Hotline suggests seeking information and assistance regarding domestic violence via phone or in-person contact rather than searching for it online.

It is easy these days for someone to track your whereabouts by placing a GPS device on or in your car, person or purse, or turning on GPS tracking for your mobile phone. Pay attention to your belongings and anything suspicious attached or placed inside of them.

In some jurisdiction, court records are placed online; they may contain personal information and certainly provide some idea of what your case or filing is about. If you are seeking legal assistance with a domestic violence case and want your actions to remain secret from the abuser, speak with a legal professional about how to maintain confidentiality until papers, such as restraining orders, are officially served.

Source: The National Domestic Abuse Hotline, "Tech & Social Media Safety" accessed Mar. 11, 2015

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