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Online abuse

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.

If you or someone you know experiences online abuse, eSafety can help – Australia's regulator for online safety.

​How eSafety can help

eSafety can help to remove harmful online content, 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 (having private or identifying information published typically without consent and/or with malicious intent).
  • 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.

Find out more about what eSafety can investigate, how to make a report and how to collect evidence.

Even if eSafety cannot get the material removed, they will check that you are safe and give you support and information to help you protect yourself.

Support and resources

Seek help if this happens to you. It’s not your fault and you are not alone.

eSafety Commissioner - www.esafety.gov.au

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - www.accce.gov.au

Lifeline - 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au

Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800 or https://kidshelpline.com.au

Watch our video on cyberbullying here.