Sexual and domestic abuse online

What is online abuse?

Sexual and domestic abuse includes any incident, or pattern of incidents, of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence. 

Many women and girls now experience this abuse online through using email or social media platforms such as mobile messaging services; networking sites like Twitter and Facebook; picture sharing services such as Snapchat and Instagram and video-sharing sites like YouTube.  

Perpetrators do not need to live with or find a victim ‘in the real world’ but can abuse someone indirectly; controlling, degrading, violating, harassing and stalking someone online.  Social media sites have been used by perpetrators to humiliate and threaten victims; share intimate photos or videos of their victims without their consent - often referred to as "revenge porn"; they may hack victims' accounts and even spyware and location-finding services are used to track victims down.

Any woman or girl, regardless of age, race, religion, sexuality or disability, can be a victim.

Staying Safe

There are ways to stop direct and indirect abuse by understanding the risks and tools you need to stay safe online.  

Online resources can show you how to:

  • protect your accounts
  • protect your personal information
  • respond to abusive content
  • document the abuse
  • block harassers
  • contact the police
  • report safety concerns about another user such as a friend or sibling
  • report intimate images shared without your consent
  • report self-harm/suicidal concerns to the website directly

UK Safer Internet


Revenge Porn Helpline

Telephone: 0845 6000 459



Stop Online Abuse



Telephone: 0800 1111





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