Survivors’ Forum FAQs

Survivors’ Forum FAQs

We have created this set of FAQs to help you navigate the forum and stay safe online.

  • Remember this is a live public forum – your message will appear as soon as you hit the “send reply” button.
  • Remember that anyone can read your posts,
  • Don’t include any identifying information (for example, your name, your children’s names, the place where you live or work) in your post
  • Don’t put up a comment which could damage the reputation of a named organisation or individual – this is called libel and is against the law. If you would like to make a complaint about a specific organisation or individual, please do so by confidentially contacting the moderator
  • Don’t share your contact details (for example your email address) in a post. The new private messaging function is a way to connect with other survivors without sharing your contact details.

Cover your tracks online

Warning: if you are worried about someone knowing you have visited this website please read the following safety information.

How can an abuser discover your internet activities?

Please take a few minutes to read the warning below and to take steps to increase your safety when visiting this website.

As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, information entered into search engines and a trail (‘history’) that reveals the sites you have visited. Please follow the instructions below to minimize the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.

If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below

Private browsing

All leading web browsers have a “private browsing” mode that, once enabled, stores nothing about your activity on your computer in that browsing window. This won’t stop online services from seeing what you get up to, but it won’t leave any traces of your activity on your computer (no history, web cache or anything else) and so it’s always a useful first step to take.

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 (Crtl, 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.


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”.

Don’t forget to log out

If you use our Survivor’s Forum, don’t forget to log out of your account when you have finished your browsing session so no one else can log in as you.

Exit site button

The green Exit Site button on the right of the Women’s Aid website will quickly hide the page but you will still need to delete your history to fully cover your tracks.

General security

If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your email and track your internet usage. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

All of the above 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, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

Further information and support about online and digital abuse

If you need to contact us with a messageboard query please allow at least 48 – 72 hours for any response.

When contacting a moderator make sure you use an email address that we can safely reply to. If this is different to your registered address please tell us your registered address in the email.

You can contact the moderator by clicking on the “Contact Moderator” tab at the top of the page or you can also contact us by emailing: [email protected]

You can register for the forum by clicking on the Sign Up tab in the toolbar to the top of the page or by clicking on the pink Register button the Survivors’ Forum homepage.

For safety reasons please choose a non-identifiable username. E.g. don’t include a pets name, date or year of birth, hometown etc.

If you were already a member of the old Survivors’ Forum please use your existing username so that the moderators and your friends on the forum can recognise you.

You will be notified that your registration has been approved by email. This can sometimes take a few hours as each request has to be approved by the moderator.

You can still browse the forum until your account is approved and if you need urgent support please contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership with Refuge) on 0808 2000 247

When you receive your activation email, don’t forget to click on the link in your email to activate your account.

Register Now

The new Survivors’ Forum launched on 25th November 2016. We are asking everyone to re-register to ensure you agree to the terms and conditions of the new site.

Remember to use your current username when re-registering so your friends on the forum and the moderators will be able to recognise you on the new site.

The forum moderators will notify you as to why your registration has been rejected. Reasons we reject registrations include:

Identifying username – Unfortunately we cannot accept your registration if the username you have given may identify you on this forum.  Please select an alternative non-identifying username and re-register. Please bear in mind that this Forum is open to all members of the public and that any nickname, which may identify you, may put you at risk.

Inappropriate username –  We cannot accept your registration if the username you have given is not acceptable on this forum. Please re-register with an alternative username.

Male users – We cannot accept your registration because the Survivors’ Forum is only open to women, as Women’s Aid is funded to support women and children only. If you require support as a male victim of domestic abuse, please visit If you require support as a perpetrator of domestic abuse, please visit

Don’t worry if you have forgotten your password.

You can easily re-set it by clicking on the “Log in” tab on the menu at the top right of your screen and clicking on the “Lost your password?” link at the bottom of the login form.

Lost your password screenshot

Your profile

This is a hub for all of your activity on the forum. Once you are logged in you can access it by clicking on your username which is below the pink login icon on the left of your page.

SF FAQs Finding your profile

OR you can click on the How are you? link in the pink bar at the very to[ of your page.


How are you button Survivors' Forum


Your profile is where you can see notifications for when people have responded to your posts, read and send private messages, and view your activity on the Forums. Explore your profile by clicking on the large icons.

Survivors' Forum Your profile

The Survivors’ Forum has a number of individual forums on different themes, questions or aspects of domestic abuse for you to explore and contribute to. You can view these on the Messageboards page. See here

These forums group together discussions (Topics) on key themes to make it easy for you to find support, information, and talk to survivors who may have similar questions or experiences.

The conversations are organised by theme into different messageboards but if you want to see the latest conversations from all boards click on the “Topics” button above the Login bubble on the right of the screen. Go here

“Topics” are how you start a new conversation (like a thread) on the forum. Before creating a new topic, take a look to see if there are already discussions happening on this theme by using the search bar or reading through the other topics.

To create a new topic. Select the messageboard that most closely matches your thoughts or query. Find the list by clicking on Forums in the top right 

To add a new conversation to the list scroll to the bottom of the list to find the “Create New Topic” box (see below).

Type in the title of your topic, this could be a question or a theme, and then type in your post in the larger box below. You can add some tags to your topic to help people find it e.g. domestic abuse, refuge etc. When you are finished click submit.

Survivors' Forum FAQs starting a new topic screenshot

You can write a reply to a comments in a thread by typing in the, “Reply to:” box at the bottom of the thread, then clicking, “submit”.

Replying to individual posts

If you want to reply to a particular comment in a thread of conversation you can click on the “Reply” button above that particular comment and it will take you to a box. Type your reply then click “submit” and your post will appear below their comment.

If someone has responded to a topic or post you’ve created, you’ll see the responses pop up in your profile notifications.

You can view your notifications quickly by going to the “How are you” tab at the top right of the page.

SF FAQs finding your notifications

Or view them in your profile by clicking on your username under the pink login bubble, click “Notifications” and then you can view your “Read” or “Unread” notifications.

SF FAQs finding your notifications

If you see something a Survivor has posted and you think that Lisa should take a look at it, you can report the post. Reports are anonymous, and the Survivor won’t be notified that you reported their post. To do this, hover over the post with your mouse and click, “Report”

If you’d would like to give us more information if it is not immediately obvious why you want to report the post, please contact us at [email protected] with a screenshot of the post and we can get back to you to let you know if we’ve taken any action on the post or comment.

Please remember that this forum is public and can be read by anyone; including perpetrators.

The moderators will have to edit or even remove a post if you include any details that may identify you on the forum. e.g. names or ages of family members, pets, place names etc. or details of court cases.

Whilst the forum can allow people to discuss “treatment” in family courts we cannot allow discussions on actual details of a case as this could affect the case. Do not post any details regarding court proceedings (whether criminal or civil).

Do not post a comment which could damage the reputation of a named organisation or individual – this is called libel and is against the law.

As your topic includes posts from other people you will need to contact the moderator and explain why you want it taken down to get it removed. Email: [email protected]

You can edit posts for 5 mins after you have written them by clicking on the “Edit” button above your post.

After 5 mins you will only be able to delete your post. To do this click on the “Trash” button above your post.

You are now able to send private messages to other survivors instead of requesting private email addresses from the moderators.

This works in a similar way to other social media messaging survivor so you can message one or more survivors at any time. It is not designed to replace conversations on the forum but is a great way to connect in a more informal way with other survivors.

WARNING – These conversations will not be moderated by Women’s Aid so we ask that you respect the guidelines of the forum and be extremely careful about sharing any identifying information or details of court cases.

It is also important to respect each other’s well-being so if someone feels unable to respond, please do not take it personally and give them space.

You are under no obligation to respond to private messages.

How do I view my private messages?

You can view your private messages by clicking either the “How are you” tab at the top of the page or your username underneath the Login icon.

Click on the “Messages” icon to view your inbox, sent items and notices from the moderators.

How do I send a private message?

  1. Use the compose section of your messaging inbox and type the username of the person you wish to send it to (this can be more than one person), type your message and click submit.


  1. To look up someone’s username go to the Members page, use the search bar to find the person you wish to message and click “Private message” to open up the message box.

How do I report a private message?

Private messages aren’t visible to the moderator so if someone is being abusive or breaking the forum guidelines you can report this behaviour by taking a screenshot of the message and emailing it to the moderator: [email protected]

We have created the Groups feature to allow for more in-depth discussion on specific topics with moderators and other specialists. By taking part in a live group discussion you can get your questions answered immediately, and connect with other survivors who want to have a more focused discussion on a particular aspect of domestic abuse.

How are group discussions different to the main forum?

  • Group discussions are only visible and accessible to members of the forum and that particular group
  • Group discussions will take place at specific times when a moderator will be online to immediately respond to your queries

How do I access groups?

  • Groups directory page – see the full list of groups you are able to join
  • Your profile > Groups – manage your group memberships
  • “How are you?” tab on the top right of your page – view group notifications and view your memberships

Using groups

Once you have been added to the group click on the “Forums” icon to see the discussion taking place.

Join the thread for the particular day that has been started by the moderator.

Don’t start new topics as we want all the discussions from one session to take place in the same thread.

I have joined a group – why can’t I post yet?

Your group membership and ability to post will only be approved during the specific times the group is open.

We have set the site to automatically log you out after 15 minutes of inactivity (e.g. not scrolling or clicking on the page at all) to protect your safety. You can prevent this from happening by moving your mouse from time to time when you are reading a post.

Confirmation emails sometimes go into your junk/spam folders in your email but some email providers have very strong filters and it’s possible that it could have been deleted.

If you still haven’t received an email after 24 hours, contact the moderator: [email protected]

We regularly update the forum to make sure that the features and security are up-to-date.

If you are having technical difficulties with the forum it could be that your computer is running an older version.

Clear your cache

To ensure you see the latest version of a site you need to clear the cache memory on your computer.

Go to: and follow the instructions for your browser.

Still having problems? Send us a screenshot

If you are still having difficulties with the site please contact the moderator and give us as much detail as possible about the problems you are experiencing. Sending us a screenshot of any issues you are having will help us to understand and address the issue quickly.

Email: [email protected]

Notify the moderator that you wish to change your username and they will arrange this for you: [email protected]

We know that it can be frustrating to not be allowed to swear, but sometimes swear words can upset others. Swear words (this includes asterisks!) are automatically hidden from view

The Survivors’ Forum is only for women who are experiencing domestic violence and for nothing else.

Unfortunately we do not allow professionals to post or request information from the women who use the forum as this would detract from its purpose.

The women rely on the forum to be a safe space for them to share and support each other and we feel that we cannot upset that balance in any way.

Welcome to the forum. It is really positive that you are actively searching for information to help your relative/friend. It is really important that you get the right information on how best to support your relative/friend and I would like to help you by pointing you in the right direction.

The Survivors’ Forum has been set up specifically to support survivors of domestic abuse and at this stage not in a position to support friends or family members.  If you would like to continue to post on the forum about your own experiences, then please feel free to do so.

However, if you need further information and support regarding your relative/friends situation, then please consider contacting the 24hr Freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. The helpline support workers will be able to provide you with options available and further information on how best to support your relative/friend.  The Helpline can also put you in touch with a local domestic abuse service in your area, if you wish.

I can’t find what I’m looking for, what should I do now?

Contact the moderator at [email protected] and Lisa will get back to you as soon as possible. Try to give as much detail as you can with your query to help us address it for you.


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