Separation can be a difficult time. There can be many things you need to deal with which can be overwhelming. Privacy and security are issues that you should address as soon as possible. These issues are extremely important in matters involving family violence because the risk of violence is elevated during this time. Here are some things you should consider:
Change all your passwords
We often share passwords with our partners. Upon separation, you should consider changing all your passwords for your individual online banking, social media accounts, email accounts, streaming accounts, cloud accounts and the like. Choose new random passwords using applications which can generate them, such as Last Pass, Norton Password Manager or Dashlane. Those applications can also store your passwords.
If you have shared bank accounts, email addresses or social media accounts, consider creating your own new accounts, remembering to create random passwords.
If your safety is at risk:
- Remember bank transactions can reveal locations based on purchases.
- Ensure you do not accept friend requests from people you do not know.
- Review your location and privacy settings on all accounts.
- Ensure you do not “check in” to places or allow others to do so when you are with them.
- Remember photos taken of you and tagged could reveal your location.
- Consider deleting social media accounts.
Review your children’s records
When it comes to children, both parents will usually have access to their records. You should review your records, especially your digital records and review what information can be accessed and by whom.
For example, records kept in My Gov and My Health Record can reveal your location or allow access to private information. The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) uses information from Medicare to assume who has parental responsibility for a child. If neither parent opted out of My Health Record, they assume both parents have parental responsibility, allowing both parents to have access to this record. This record can reveal the location of a child by the uploading of information such as which doctor’s surgery they have attended. If you have safety concerns, you should contact the ADHA and advise them. You should also contact the Department of Human Services to check what information is available to the other parent via My Gov as children are usually linked to parent’s accounts.
Create a Safety Plan
If family violence is a concern, consider implementing a Safety Plan. Sometimes when we are confronted with a situation, it can be difficult to think straight. Safety Plans can assist by having everything you need to do in one document which you can easily refer to. Counsellors or Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (mediators) can help you with this. You can also download the brochure “Safe from violence” here which has a template for you to create your own Safety Plan.
Get legal advice
Advice from a specialist Family Lawyer can make all the difference. Express your concerns with your lawyer who can provide you with advice specific to your circumstances.