Dealing with online abuse
Australia has strong laws to prevent and deal with harm caused by serious online abuse and illegal and restricted online content.
eSafety is a federal government agency which has the power to investigate and remove instances of adult cyber abuse, image-based abuse, illegal and restricted online content and cyberbullying of children and young people.
If you or someone you know experiences online abuse, you can go to eSafety for help.
In an emergency or life-threatening situation, call Triple Zero (000).
How eSafety can help
eSafety can help to get harmful online content removed, provided it meets the legal threshold for investigation.
It can investigate:
- Cyberbullying – Serious harmful online communication to or about a child or young person under 18. This behaviour can include being mean online, sending hurtful messages, sharing embarrassing photos and creating fake accounts.
- Adult cyber abuse – Seriously harmful online communication to or about a person who is 18 or older. This content is menacing, harassing or offensive and intended to cause serious harm. It may include tech abuse, being cyber stalked, threatened online or being doxed.
- Image based abuse -Sharing or threatening to share nudes or intimate images or videos of a person without their consent – sometimes called ‘revenge porn’ or sexual extortion.
- Illegal or restricted content – Content that shows or encourages the sexual abuse or exploitation of children, terrorist acts or other types of violent crimes or extreme violence.
How to make a report
Online abuse can happen on a social media site, game, app or any other online or electronic platform. It can include posts, comments, texts, messages, chats, livestreams, memes, images, videos, and emails.
There are different steps to follow when you make a report – based on the type of abuse:
- For cyberbullying and adult cyber abuse: Report to the online service or social platform first. If they don’t remove the content within 48 hours, report to eSafety.
- For image–based abuse or illegal and restricted content: Report to eSafety immediately.
Even if eSafety cannot get the material removed, they will check you are safe and give you support and information to help protect yourself.
eSafety is Australia’s independent regulator for online safety.
As a federal government agency, its job is to:
- educate Australians about online safety risks, how to be safe online, and where to go for help.
- protect Australians by investigating and helping to remove instances of cyberbullying of children and young people, adult cyber abuse, image-based abuse, and illegal and restricted online content.
- keep technology companies accountable for what happens on their platforms and services.
For more information go to the eSafety website.