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Keeping safe

Remember to delete your history!

Please remember your browsing will appear on your history. Remember to delete this if you need to. You can use the link below to go straight back to Sefton Home page.

If you are in immediate danger call 999. 

The silent solution: If you can’t speak or make a sound when calling 999, listen to the operator's questions, then tap the handset. If prompted, press 55. Your call will be transferred to police who will know it’s an emergency.

How to stay safe if you’re still in the abusive relationship

You might feel unable to leave your relationship and that’s ok. The first step towards being safe is to tell someone that you trust. That may be a friend, a colleague, a family member or one of our local, confidential support services , who can support you and create a safety plan that works for you.

In the meantime, here is some advice on how you might be able to reduce the risk from your current/ex-partner or family member and prepare for leaving the relationship if/when you choose to.

Making a safety plan

Having a plan can help you feel more in control and feel that it’s possible to leave when you’re ready. We know it’s hard and that there is an increased risk from your abuser if they suspect that you are making plans. These steps can help you to feel safer and move towards taking action at a time that is right for you.

  • Plan in advance how you might respond in different situations, including crisis situations. For example – ‘if this happens, I will…’.
  • Think about the different options that may be available to you.
  • Keep with you any important and emergency telephone numbers.
  • Teach your children to call 999 in an emergency, and what they would need to say (for example, their full name, address and telephone number).
  • Are there neighbours you could trust, and could you go to them in an emergency? If so, tell them what is going on, and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of a violent attack.
  • Rehearse an escape plan, so in an emergency you and the children can get away safely.
  • Pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children, (eg. passport, birth certificates, cash, replica of favourite toy, nappies, medication) and hide it somewhere safe (for example, at a neighbour's or friend's house). Try to avoid mutual friends or family.
  • Develop a code word to use with a trusted person in case of an emergency e.g. texting ‘milk’ could mean ‘call 999 I’m in danger’.
  • Try to keep a small amount of money on you at all times – for emergency expenses and bus fares.
  • If you have a mobile phone, try to keep it with you. Consider buying a basic pay as you go mobile and hide this or keep it in your emergency bag.
  • If you suspect that your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower risk area of the house - for example where there is a way out and access to a telephone. Avoid the kitchen or garage where there are likely to be knives or other weapons; and avoid rooms where you might be trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
  • Be prepared to leave the house in an emergency.  
  • Share you plan with a trusted person – you can even get them to help you.

For more safety planning information visit I want to leave my relationship safely - Women’s Aid

Keeping safe online

It’s really important that you cover your tracks online, this minimises the chances of someone knowing that you are researching ways to get support and keep safe.

  • Familiarise yourself with the locations of ‘exit site’ buttons on webpages, these can be used to quickly take you to another page if someone asks what you’re browsing on the internet. You will also need to delete your browsing history to fully cover your tracks.
  • Use the internet somewhere other than home, at a local library, a friend’s house or at work, if possible.
  • Use passwords on your phone and computer and change these regularly if safe to do so.
  • Use ‘private browsing’ or ‘incognito’ windows to view information online that you do not want to have stored on your internet history (online services can still see you history but it won’t leave traces of your activity on your computer).
  • Delete your browsing history – go to the ‘history’ section of your browsing page, find any entries that relate to your searches, right click on each one and choose delete.
  • Install free antispy software for your computer and phone.
  • Always log out.
  • Remove mobile spyware from your phone and disable geolocation tracking and geotagging, you can also do this on social media platforms that you use).

Computer safety

  • Use a safe computer until yours has anti-spyware installed.
  • Create new obscure, encrypted passwords and password protect your computer.
  • If it is not possible to remove spyware without your abuser noticing, do not use it to access support sites.

Mobile phone safety

  • Set your mobile so that you need a pin to unlock it.
  • Don’t use apps that use your location, ask for administrator access or request that you share your GPS location. Delete any apps that look suspicious.
  • Use another mobile to make calls if you are visiting a sensitive location.
  • Turn off geolocation and geotagging in mobile settings, camera and camera apps.
  • Turn off frequent location tracking.
  • Reset your phone to factory settings to delete any spyware.
  • If you are fleeing an abusive situation, you should take the battery out until you are safe and then do a factory reset.
  • Ask your family and friends not to give out your number. If someone needs to speak to you, they can take a message and you can call them back.

Email safety

  • Set up a new anonymous email address (don’t use your name or any identifying information).
  • Create multiple email accounts, if one becomes compromised you will still have access to the others.
  • Permanently delete any email by right clicking it on the deleted items folder (outlook, Gmail, Yahoo etc)
  • If you received threatening or harassing emails, save them, make a copy and print them for evidence against the sender.

Social media and instant messaging safety

  • Delete your account and set up a new one with a different name and obscure photo. Set your account to ‘private’ where possible. Only invite and follow trusted people. Do not set up relationships in the account.
  • Set your account with the highest privacy settings, including turning geotagging to off/disabled and check your settings regularly.
  • Control who comments on your posts – remember that a friend of a friend can see comments that they make. Make sure that you did this for all social media accounts, whatsapp etc.
  • Ensure that all of your friends settings are set to ‘friends only’.
  • Check to see if your photos are geotagged – go into your photo app, swipe up and see if a location has been address, remove tags if necessary.
  • Consider if it would be safer to block your abuser and any mutual friends that you may have – you can also pre-empt other accounts they may have and block those too.
  • In direct messages, use the filter functions to automatically ignore, remove and block messages.
  • Educate your children about the risks associated with social media.
  • Don’t allow any pop-ups that you weren’t expecting, these could contain spyware.

Revenge porn and intimate image sharing

  • It is illegal to share or threaten to share revealing or intimate pictures or videos of someone without their consent.
  • Get help: Revenge Porn free helpline 0345 6000 459 (Tuesday -Thursday 10am – 4pm) 
  • If you are under 18 and a nude image or video of you has been shared online, you can report it to be removed from the internet. Call Childline 0800 1111

Stay safe HOLLIEGUARD app

Hollieguard is a free app that turns your smartphone into an advanced personal safety device. Alert your chosen person/people to distress and monitor travel, by shaking your phone to generate an alert and information about your location. All data is stored on secure servers and not your phone.

Download Hollie Guard – Hollie Guard

Use Digital Breakup to find out more information and further advice.

Tell someone

If you are experiencing abuse, it is important to tell someone before it gets worse. If what you are experiencing is particularly serious, go into your local police station for help. If you or your family are in immediate danger don’t be afraid to call the police on 999.

If you feel that you can’t tell the police it is important to tell someone what is happening to you. This could be a trusted friend or colleague, or you can speak to any of our local services face to face or on the phone *link back to ‘get help’ page*

You are not alone

By sharing what’s going on with someone you trust and reaching out to support services, you can make the first steps to the safe life that you deserve. Please do not suffer alone. Sefton’s support services are here to talk through your situation and support you to keep safe and reduce risk.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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