Internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes information you have entered into search engines and a 'history' that shows the sites you have visited. 

Below are some instructions to minimise the chances of finding out which websites you have been looking at. 

Quick note: If you do not use a password to log in to your computer then someone will be able to access your email and track your internet usage. The safest way to find information on the internet is at a local library, at a friends house or at work. 

Private Browsing

All browsers tend to have a 'private browsing' option that, once enabled, stores nothing about your activity on the computer you are using. 

Internet Explorer: Go to Safety – Tools – “InPrivate Browsing”.

Firefox: Click the Menu button with three horizontal lines – “New Private Window”.

Chrome: Click the Menu button with three horizontal lines and select “New Incognito Window”.

Similar options can be found in Opera and Safari.

It is also best to double check that nothing has been stored by following the steps below.

Internet Explorer

Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Cookies and then OK. Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labelled Delete all offline content and click OK. Under History, click on Clear History and then OK. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.


Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. Click on the Clear button next to Cache and Saved Form Information.

Deleting your browsing history

Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a ‘history’. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Ctrl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that say, right click and choose Delete.


If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your Drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – print and 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, 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 separately. Right click on items within the Deleted Items folder to delete individual items.


Facebook has introduced a number of changes to its family of apps that survivors of domestic abuse can use to protect themselves from receiving abusive messages and unwanted contact, in addition to taking greater control over the content you see.

  • When you block someone on Facebook or Instagram, they will no longer be able to search for your profile.
  • In order to make it harder for someone you’ve already blocked from contacting you again through a new Instagram account, when you block someone you now have the option to both block their account and preemptively block new accounts that person may create.
  • Messenger now allows you to ignore a conversation and automatically move it out of your inbox without having to block the sender.
  • You can control who can comment on your public posts on Facebook.
  • All UK Instagram accounts now have the ability to filter private message requests containing offensive words, phrases and emojis. These can also be added to your comment filter, meaning no comment containing these terms will appear under your posts.
  • Instagram’s new Sensitive Content Control tool allows you to decide how much sensitive content shows up in the ‘Explore’ tab.

More information on how to use these controls can be found here.


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”.