Technology Safety:NNEDV

12 Tips on Cell Phone Safety and Privacy

As cell phones become smarter, they’re more like mini computers that contain lots of personal information about us. Here are 12 easy steps to take to manage your privacy and safety when using your cell phone.

1. Put a passcode on your phone.

The easiest thing for you to do is to put a passcode on your phone. Having a passcode will make it harder for someone to pick up your phone to scroll through, access your accounts, or install something malicious. In the event that your phone gets stolen or you lose it, it’ll make it a bit harder for others to get into your phone. Most phones just ask for a 4-digit passcode, but some phones will allow you to use a more complex passcode.

2. Turn off location sharing.

Most phones have a GPS that can pinpoint your general or exact location. With this capability, many applications may collect and share your location information. However, many smartphones give you the option of managing your location sharing under the “settings.” You can pick and choose which applications may access your location or you can opt to turn off the location setting altogether.  Minimizing the location access can also help increase the battery life on your phone. If your phone doesn’t offer specific location-sharing settings, choose carefully when downloading new apps so you’re not sharing your location unknowingly.

3. Turn off Bluetooth when not using.

Bluetooth allows your phone to communicate with other devices, such as the hands-free option in your car or your printer. If accessed by someone else though, they could misuse it to access your information or intercept your calls. Turn off the Bluetooth on your phone and turn it on only when you need to connect with other device. Many phones also allow users to set passcodes or additional security levels on their Bluetooth as well. Use all available options to increase your privacy.

4. Check your privacy & security settings.

Most smartphones have settings that will help you manage your privacy and safety. You can find these controls through the settings on your phone or through the settings of a specific app. These settings may allow you to limit an application’s access to the data on your phone, including access to your location, pictures, contacts, notes, etc. You may even be able to block cookies and limit what data your mobile browser collects.

5. What online accounts are you automatically logged into?

One of the convenient features of having a smartphone is to quickly access email or social media accounts with just a tap of a finger. However, this also means that you are always connected to accounts that may contain sensitive information. Consider logging out of certain accounts if you can so that others can’t access those accounts if they are using your phone. Keep in mind that depending on the type of phone you have, you might not be able to log out of some accounts, such as email accounts, but may have to remove the entire account from your phone. In this case, make your decision based on your own privacy and safety risk. While it may be inconvenient to access the account through the browser instead, it may be safer.

6. Review the apps you download.

Know the apps that are on your phone, and if you have an unfamiliar app, delete it. Apps are easy to download and easy to forget, but depending on the app, it could be accessing private information or could be a monitoring program that someone surreptitiously installed.

7. Put a password on your wireless carrier account to keep others from accessing your account.

If you’re worried that someone might be contacting your wireless carrier to obtain information about you and your account, you can ask your wireless carrier to put additional security on your account, such as a password. Only someone with this password will be allowed to make changes to your account.

8. Lock down your online phone account.

Keep in mind that even if someone doesn’t have access to your phone, it might be possible for them to access your online account. Online accounts can include your wireless carrier account, call logs, your email or social media accounts, your Google Play/Apple AppStore, or iCloud account. Update the passwords and security questions for those accounts to ensure someone else can’t get access.

9. Use virtual phone numbers (such as Google Voice) to keep your number private.

To further maximize your privacy, consider using a virtual number, such as Google Voice or a throw away number, so you don’t have to give out your actual phone number. A virtual phone number will also allow you to screen calls and make calls/send texts from the virtual number.

10. Try not to store sensitive information on your phone.

Finally, although it may be tempting to store information such as passwords, account numbers, or personal information on your phone, the less sensitive information you have, the less likely someone else can access it. You might even want to consider deleting sensitive text messages or voicemails so they’re not stored on your phone.

11. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your phone.

After years of warnings, we are fairly used to ensuring we have anti-spyware, anti-malware, and anti-virus programs on our computers. This software should also be used on our smartphones as well. Search for programs in the app stores and discuss them with your wireless provider. Some phones come with built-in software that you won’t want to override.

12. Take care when using safety apps.

There are many “personal safety apps” available for download that offer to increase the users’ personal safety – immediately connecting them with 911 or select trusted individuals. Several of these apps are designed and marketed specifically to survivors of violence. Before relying on any safety app in an emergency, be sure to test it out with friends and family to be sure that it works correctly for you. Your trusted friend may not receive your location with your emergency call or may not receive your call for help at all. Always know the quickest way to access 911 on your phone in case of an emergency. Many phones have a quick emergency call button that you can even dial without entering the phone’s passcode.

 

Domestic abuse victims get help

Domestic abuse victims can get help

South Salem Presbyterian Church

A group dedicated to stopping domestic abuse in Lewisboro and neighboring towns is determined to spread the message: Help, and hope, are close by — very close by.

“I’m a founding charter member,” said the Rev. Dr. Chip Andrus of the South Salem Presbyterian Church. He, along with Lewisboro Police Chief Frank Secret and Town Supervisor Peter Parsons, are featured in a program currently running on Lewisboro Community TV Channel 20, “Focus on Domestic Violence in Lewisboro and Surrounding Communities.”

“The point of the video is to get victims — mainly women — to realize that help is available,” said Mr. Parsons, “and that it’s from trained people. They can get you counseling and help from qualified, understanding people.”

“They” is North East Westchester Domestic Abuse Alliance, or NEW-DAA, a consortium of “domestic violence survivors/victims, law enforcement, clergy and domestic violence service providers coming together to create an integrated response to domestic violence,” according to its mission statement.

An idea takes shape

“It actually started in my study here at South Salem Presbyterian Church, about three years ago,” said Mr. Andrus. “It started with a victim, who is now a survivor, who came to me for pastoral care. Part of the healing process was to help create this group. We got in touch with Victim’s Assistance Services (VAA), and it was a three-way process with me, the survivor and VAA.” Mr. Andrus said there was no paradigm to follow — “It all kind of grew organically.”

Chief Secret was one of the first to get involved. Abuse survivors told him about one of the problems with the way in which domestic abuse calls were traditionally handled.

“Who shows up but two male authority figures,” Chief Secret said, “and that made the caller very uncomfortable. Luckily, we do have a female officer in Lewisboro.”

Quickly joining Mr. Andrus, Chief Secret and VAA in the effort were Hope’s Door, My Sister’s Place, and the police chief from Pound Ridge, David Ryan.

“The clergy started to invite other clergy to be involved,” said Mr. Andrus. “Rabbi Carla Freedman and myself were first, and it just kept expanding into a larger group.” Participants now include Antioch Baptist Church, Katonah United Methodist Church, St. James Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church of Katonah, Pound Ridge Community Church, and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

A two-pronged approach

Mr. Andrus explained that there are two parts to the NEW-DAA effort: first, to bring awareness about domestic abuse to the whole community, especially those who may be victims; and second, to provide a consortium of police, clergy, and victims services so there is a variety of avenues to which victims can turn.

“For the first time, we have a cohesive approach of all three groups,” said Mr. Andrus. “You can get help in multiple ways. We know each other — we meet every single month, we train each other for awareness.”

No matter which entity victims enter through, he said, they can get all the elements working for them.

As a member of the clergy, Mr. Andrus said, he recognizes that churches have not always been the safest place for victims of abuse. “Unfortunately,” he said, “there was bad doctrine, bad theology. Now that we’ve trained the clergy in the area, we hope this is more the norm now. If someone comes to us for help, we’re not going to tell them the old school idea of ‘go home and be a good wife’ — which was often the case in the past.”

Seeking help is key

Lewisboro Police Chief Frank Secret (Reece Alvarez)

Both Mr. Andrus and Chief Secret emphasized that the problem of domestic abuse is far greater than most people acknowledge, and that it is not limited to any socio-economic group.

“It’s out there in ways that people don’t recognize,” said Mr. Andrus. “It is an epidemic, a hidden evil; it could be next door and you won’t know it. It’s insidious in that way. Victims don’t want to report it.”

Chief Secret said the national average is for seven incidents of abuse to occur before the victim comes forward.

“Our goal is, after the first incident, victims should be able to come here and find out their rights,” he said. “Survivors will tell you, they wish they had come in right away. You can talk to a rabbi or priest; you can talk to someone who’s been through it; you can get help from county assistance services.”

“There’s probably more awareness of the problem now because of all the publicity in the sports world,” said Chief Secret.

He and all those involved with NEW-DAA want to be sure that everyone in the community knows that not only is the problem all around us, but so are people who can help — if victims will just ask.

“It’s not going to go away on its own,” he said.

Points of Contact:

For help or more information, contact the Lewisboro Police Department at (914) 763-8903 or Reverend Chip Andrus at the South Salem Presbyterian Church(914) 763-9282, located at 111 Spring Street.

Domestic Violence Victims Hide in The Shadows At Their Peril

domestic violence victims hide in shadows at their peril

Those familiar with the patterns of domestic violence are sadly not surprised that another victim resided in a tony Westchester town.

Forget the stereotypes.

Even in the Westchester’s most well-to-do corners, family violence plagues our neighbors, sisters and friends.

“Domestic violence knows no socio-economic boundaries. It can happen in the wealthiest families and in the most financially stressed,” said Pound Ridge Police Chief David Ryan, who is an active member of the North East Westchester Domestic Abuse Alliance (New DAA).

A horrific case in point: Successful tax attorney Julius “Jules” Riech is charged with fatally stabbing his wife, respected Scarsdale pediatrician Robin Goldman, during a domestic dispute on Wednesday.

In the last five years, 38 domestic violence victims from Scarsdale have sought help from Pleasantville-based nonprofit, Hope’s Door, said Executive Director CarlLa Horton. “And that doesn’t include the many Jane Does who don’t tell us their names or where they live.”

The nonprofit helped 44 victims from Pound Ridge, 79 from Bedford, 165 from Port Chester, and 365 from Ossining, where Hope’s Door has an office. Perhaps paradoxically, some of the towns with higher numbers are those with communities with “very active police forces” in domestic violence, she said.  “So much goes unreported.”

One in four women in the United States are victims of domestic violence, said Jennifer Ryan Safsel, Hope’s Door’s development director. “So there are going to be professionals. Socio-economically it doesn’t matter. Some people control their spouse by tracking their phones. Or people have been known to put tracking devices on cars.”

It’s ultimately about control. As White Plains-based nonprofit My Sister’s Place explains on its website, “Domestic violence is characterized by the misuse of power and control. It includes physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, sexual, and economic abuse.”

Police have said they received no prior calls about domestic violence in the Lincoln Road home.

This does not surprise Chief Ryan. “Statistically there are nine significant incidents before a call to the police,” Ryan said.

Why they don’t report

Domestic violence victims fear reporting their abusers for myriad reasons.

Poor or financially dependent women may not report because they are afraid they will not be able to financially support themselves or their children if they leave their partners, said Horton, who noted that domestic violence also occurs among same-sex couples, though far less frequently.

For more affluent women, admitting the abuse, already a distressing prospect, may be complicated by the fear of not being believed by peers, Dr. Susan Weitzman, founder of the Weitzman Center, an advocacy organization that raises awareness about “upscale abuse” said in the Daily Beast.

Many fear damage to their social image or career.

“People don’t want to air their dirty laundry, especially if they have status within their community or profession,” Ryan said. “There’s a real stigma attached to coming out of shadows.”

Horton agreed. “This is the thing you desperately, desperately try to hide from everyone else. So that a murder came out of the blue is seldom, seldom the case.”

Those who do turn in their abusers often feel shamed into hiding.  “We have people who stop shopping in the community or going to church in the community once they report,” Ryan said. “We see it all the time.”

Ryan said accused abusers, some with power jobs and luxury homes, worry about their image too.

“Even the people we arrest — the first thing they ask us is, ‘Is this going in the paper?’ ”

Even after arrests, women may fear high-income husbands’ power in the courtroom where they can hire what Weitzman called “legal dream teams.”

Warning signs 

Friends or family of victims may notice “a change in work habits. They may be quieter, withdrawn. They might not go out as a couple any more or the kids may not be as involved in athletic events anymore. Or if you see bruises, they may try to explain it off,” Ryan said.

For a woman or teenager in a newer relationship who might be wondering about her beau, Horton says. “The number one warning sign is isolation. Someone who keeps you away from everybody else who could matter to you.”

Beyond that, evidence of controlling behavior is an indicator of trouble. Does he try to dictate “what you can wear, whether you can work or not, who you can see?”

Risk factors for murder

According to one national study out of Johns Hopkins, the top risk factor for murder in domestic violence situations is that the abuser owns a gun.

The second is that you have recently left or have announced serious intention to leave him.

“Everyone blames the victim,” said Ryan Safsel from Hope’s Door. “People say, ‘Why didn’t she leave?’ Leaving is absolutely the most dangerous time. That’s when 75 percent of murders occur.”

In 2003, Croton resident Debora Riggs Clancy, a mother of four, was stabbed to death in front of two of her four children by her husband, Peter. She had recently filed for an order of protection against him.

Experts urge victims to call help hotlines for guidance on how to leave and survive an abusive relationship.

Who to call

Hotlines for help

Hope’s Door: 888-438-8700.

My Sister’s Place:  800-298-7233 (SAFE)

Victim’s Assistance

Westchester Community Opportunity Program
Local hotline: 914-345-9111  or call  1-855-827-2255

Twitter: @ASKSanders

Pound Ridge Police Chief Lends Voice To Panel on Domestic Violence


Pound Ridge Police Chief Lends Voice To Panel On Domestic Violence

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. — A recent panel discussion organized by the Domestic Abuse Network of Northeastern Westchester (DANNEW) was held at the Pound Ridge Library. Among those speaking was Town Police Chief David Ryan, who presented a convincing case as to how this issue is more prevalent in a small community like ours than most people may think.

The 90-minute discussion was moderated by Nicole Malgarinos of DANNEW.

The panel included six dedicated professionals who compared their views on working with victims when providing assistance. Included on the panel were Chip Andrus, pastor of the South Salem Presbyterian Church and Kymberly McNair, associate minister of the Antioch Baptist Church of Bedford Hills. McNair is also a coordinator at My Sister’s Place, an advocacy service that provides emergency housing for victims of domestic abuse.

In many communities, clergy are usually considered first responders because they are usually the ones a victim will turn to for help.

Also part of the panel was a local resident who through her resilience, spoke of dealing with domestic abuse and how she was able to receive assistance from people trained to reach out to anyone experiencing an abusive situation. In acknowledging Ryan, this individual started out by saying “If not for him I would not be alive today.”

In explaining what she went through before receiving help, she continued “It’s like living a nightmare and then feeling like being dumped into an ocean and you don’t know if you’re swimming up or down but you’re swimming as hard as you can.”

One emphasis discussed by the panel was how some victims are reluctant to come forward to report a situation due to fears of retaliation by the person responsible for initiating the violence. Everyone on the panel agreed that the most important part of providing help is to first promote public awareness within the community.

Ryan also confirmed how it is also a huge challenge for law enforcement due to trust issues. “My officers understand they should not talk down to a victim about the incident that brought them into my office for help but to have a greater understanding of the psychological scars one goes through,” he said. He reiterated how a victim needs everything to be able to take that first step in trusting law enforcement.

All the panelists agreed the priority when dealing with a victim for the first time is to provide a level of comfort so they can trust the services being offered to them. The next issue that was discussed openly was how communities need to become more involved. Statistics are higher than many people think. Bringing awareness into a community will no doubt provide any victim of domestic abuse the willingness to reach out for the help they need.

For anyone who has been a victim of abuse, physical or verbal, domestic or outside of the home, you can have complete trust in the law enforcement community. As with Ryan, they are dedicated in providing help while maintaining the highest standard of trust in respecting one’s privacy when dealing with this situation. Ryan can be reached at the Pound Ridge Police Department at 914-764-4206.

 

Trumps Immigration Crackdown is Pushing Victims of Abuse Underground:Huffington Post :Melissa Jeltsen

POLITICS 05/31/2017 12:18 pm ET
Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Pushing Victims Of Abuse Underground
Immigrants who face sexual assault and domestic violence are avoiding police and dropping court cases, a new survey shows.
By Melissa Jeltsen

Undocumented victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are afraid of calling the police, a new survey finds.
The woman was calling because she was frightened.

Her partner had become emotionally and physically abusive after the birth of their son, she told an advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

She had recorded his threats on her phone but was too scared to involve law enforcement. He was a U.S. citizen, she explained, while she had conditional permission to stay in the United States through former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. She didn’t want to be deported.

Her story is not an anomaly. Immigrants are increasingly reluctant to report domestic violence and sexual assault, citing fears of deportation under President Donald Trump, according to a survey released this month of 715 victim advocates and attorneys in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

In April, a coalition of national organizations working to end domestic violence and sexual assault conducted the “2017 Advocate and Legal Service Survey Regarding Immigrant Survivors” to get hard data on how the country’s changing immigration policies were affecting their clients. Nearly 80 percent of advocates reported that survivors had expressed concerns about contacting police. Forty-three percent of advocates said they had personally worked with a survivor who dropped a civil or criminal case because they were too scared to continue. Three-quarters of respondents reported that survivors were worried about going to court.

The survey’s findings offer even more evidence for what advocates and law enforcement leaders predicted: Trump’s immigration crackdown is driving undocumented victims of crime underground.

“Being subjected to domestic violence is scary and terrifying, but so is being detained and deported,” said Monica McLaughlin, deputy director of public policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “If folks are not comfortable asking for help and support in a crisis, it means they are isolated and even more vulnerable.”

In his first week as president, Trump signed two executive orders on immigration that empowered immigration agents, drastically broadened the scope who could be targeted for deportation and called on local law enforcement to take on a greater role in federal immigration enforcement. After Trump’s first 100 days were over, the results were clear: Immigration arrests were up nearly 40 percent.

It’s disheartening to see that there is now an even greater fear for victims and survivors to ask for help.
Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline
McLaughlin said that many victims were spooked after hearing about the case of an undocumented transgender woman who was arrested in a Texas courthouse while seeking a domestic violence protective order against her ex-boyfriend. “If the perception is that going to court is a dangerous thing, it’s going to change behavior,” she said. In practice, she said, that means fewer victims calling police, filing reports, and cooperating with authorities. And for the assailants, it means they can keep “abusing with impunity,” she said.

Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said many victims were calling in with anxiety about how to get assistance without endangering themselves. “There is so much fear already present in abusive relationships,” she said. “It’s disheartening to see that there is now an even greater fear for victims and survivors to ask for help.”

Abusers can capitalize on that fear, threatening to turn their partners over to immigration authorities if they report abuse. Last week, police arrested a Baltimore defense attorney on suspicion of trying to stop a rape victim from testifying. He allegedly said that she risked deportation by the Trump administration if she did so.

At least two police chiefs have warned that the current political climate is pushing undocumented victims of crime into the shadows. In Los Angeles, Police Chief Charlie Beck said reports of rape among the city’s Latino population have fallen 25 percent, compared to the same period last year. In Houston, Police Chief Art Acevedo said rape reports by Latinos were down 42.8 percent from last year.

If victims are afraid to report, it undermines public safety for the whole community, said Rosie Hidalgo, Director of Public Policy for Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network. “Compelling increased entanglement between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement will erode community policing efforts,” she said.

Good policing relies on trust, explained David Alan Sklansky, Stanford University professor and former federal prosecutor. “If victims of crimes don’t feel comfortable reporting the crime or cooperating with police in investigating the crime, it means the police can’t do their job,” he said. “You can’t keep a city safe when victims and witnesses don’t trust you.”

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Melissa Jeltsen covers domestic violence and issues related to women’s health, safety and security. Tips? Feedback? Send an email or follow her on Twitter.

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National Domestic Violence Hotline:Tips for Safely Reaching Out for Support

Blog – Latest News
Tips for Safely Reaching Out for Support

July 27, 2016/32 Comments/in Get Help Today /by Advocate
This post was written by advocate Lauren C.

Being in a relationship should not mean you lose your right to privacy or your right to talk to whomever you like. But in an abusive relationship, an abusive person may isolate their partner from sources of support. This is often done by checking their partner’s call log and text history or denying their partner the right to a phone.

Reaching out for support when you’re in an abusive relationship is scary, especially if there are barriers to having a safe phone. If you are having trouble finding a safe way to communicate with others for support, below are some options to consider:

Semi-Safe Phone: If you do have a phone that you use but you are concerned your partner sees your messages or call history, you could selectively delete texts and phone calls. Also, you could clear your search history on a smartphone so your abusive partner cannot see what websites you have visited. Additionally, if you have a family member or friend you trust, you can work out a plan with them where you decide on a code word that you’ll text them when you need help. When that person receives that message containing the code word, they’ll know to take some agreed upon action to help you, like calling the police or picking you up at a certain location.
Trusted Loved One or Neighbor: If you do not have access to a safe phone, there may be someone you trust who will let you use their phone to safely call for support.
Phone Not Connected to Service Provider: Sometimes an abusive partner will cut off their partner’s cell service. Even if the phone doesn’t have service to make general calls, it will call 911. Keeping it charged and near you will give you a way to call 911 in an emergency. If you have a smartphone, you may also be able to use the internet on the phone by connecting to wifi. If your home doesn’t have wifi, going to your local library, community center or coffee shop could be a way for you to reach out for support online.
Internet: There are services such as Google Voice (only available in the U.S.) or Skype that allow you to call someone via the internet. Keep in mind that Google Voice doesn’t work for all 1-800 numbers, but Skype is able to connect with most of them. Facebook also allows you to call other users you are friends with using wifi.
Secret Phone: If it is safe for you to do so, consider getting a phone your abusive partner doesn’t know about. You could keep it at work, with a trusted friend or family member, or in another safe place your partner won’t have access to. There are affordable pay-as-you-go phones which you could purchase and add minutes to when you need them. Another option is Verizon Hopeline, which provides free, refurbished cell phones to survivors through local domestic abuse centers. Safelink is also an option for low-income individuals to receive free phones and minutes.
Community Phones: Local community centers and libraries may have pay phones or public phones you can use. If you live in an apartment complex with a business center, it may offer you a safe way to reach out. Online searches can help you locate pay phones in your area as well.
When you feel safe and ready to reach out for help, don’t forget that Hotline advocates are here to support you 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233, or you can chat live here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.