Violence against women and girls

Violence against women and girls is under-reported yet very common. This guide offers information and links to organisations that can provide help and support.

Using these pages — covering your tracks

Leave this page quickly if your abuser suspects your activity

If you are worried about someone knowing you have visited these pages please read the following information on covering your tracks. If you want to get away from this page please use the ‘Leave this page quickly’ link at the top of each page in this guide.

It is possible for someone to view which sites or pages you have visited. Your browser may store the address, as well as any images from websites you visit and words you have entered into search engines. The advice below should help you to remove any evidence of the sites you have visited. The instructions are given for several of the most popular browsers.

How to find out which browser you are using

To find out which browser you have, use the 'help' link at the top of your browser. One of the links will be called ‘About’ followed by the name of your browser.

Private browsing

We recommend that when you are using the internet on your computer (or a computer that people you know may have access to) you do so using 'private browsing'.

As you browse the web, your browser remembers lots of information for you, such as the sites you've visited, files you've downloaded, and more. Private browsing allows you to browse the internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you have visited.

Learn how to privately browse

If you create new bookmarks while private browsing, your browser will keep them when you stop, so it is best to avoid creating bookmarks during private browsing.

Anything you download to your computer such as files, pictures and documents, will not be deleted when you finish private browsing, so avoid saving any files unless you are sure you will remove them yourself.

What to do if you haven't used private browsing

Deleting your internet usage history

You can delete all of the history of your browsing, or just the pages you want to remove. It may be less noticeable if you only remove selected pages.

To delete selected pages in Internet Explorer and Netscape or Firefox, hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and then press the H key (Crtl, Alt and H for Opera browsers). Find any entries that you want to remove, right-click on them and choose Delete.

Deleting cookies

Cookies are small text files which track your online sessions. They may also contain login information for websites, such as shopping sites or email. If you delete all of your cookies, this login information will no longer appear. It may be less noticeable to delete individual cookies.

To delete individual cookies, find your cookies file by searching for 'cookie' using the find or search option in Windows, or Finder on a Mac. The file will be called Cookies or cookies.txt in Windows and cookies.txt or magiccookie on a Mac. You can then open the file and delete any cookies you want to remove.


If you receive abusive emails you should save them or print them out and keep them as evidence. If you want to hide emails you have sent or received, go to your sent items folder and delete the email, then delete it from your deleted items. Remember that if you started an email and didn’t send it, it will be stored in your drafts folder.

If someone replies to your email, the text of your email may be at the bottom of the email you receive. To remove it, scroll down and delete all of the text below their response and then save the email.

General computer safety

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 could be at a local library, a friend's house or at work.