This guide shows you what to do if someone shares a nude or sexual image of you without your consent. It includes information on:
- How to get support
- How to ask for images to be removed, and
- How to get help from a lawyer or police.
1. What is image-based abuse?
Image-based abuse (IBA) is when someone shares an intimate, nude or sexual image or video, without the permission of the person in the image or video.
The images can be real photos, photos that have been changed or altered, drawn pictures or videos.
It is also image-based abuse if someone threatens to share an intimate image of you.
Examples of image-based abuse include:
- Your ex-partner sharing an intimate image of you on Facebook without your agreement.
- Someone altering an image of you to make you appear naked and then emailing it to lots of people.
- A stranger taking an intimate photo without your permission, also known as ‘up-skirting’ or ‘down-blousing’ or ‘creepshots’, and then sharing it on a website or porn site.
If you have experienced image-based abuse, you are not alone. Around 20% of Australians have experienced image-based abuse.^
2. How does image-based abuse affect people?
It is different for everyone. People who have had a naked or sexual image of them shared can feel very upset.
You might feel annoyed, angry, humiliated, embarrassed, overwhelmed or depressed. You may worry that your friends or family might see it.
If this has happened to you, talk to someone you trust.
Remember it is not your fault. The person who shared the image did the wrong thing.
3. What to do
Go to the police if:
- You don’t feel safe – if you feel like someone might hurt you call Triple Zero (000) .
- You are being abused or hurt by somebody – even if that person is a family member, partner, friend, carer or stranger
If you are in an abusive relationship or have experienced domestic violence
The person who shared your image may be violent if you try to take the image down.
Before you try to take an image down, tell someone you trust, call your local police, a support service or a lawyer.
If you are in an abusive or violent relationship, your safety must come first.
Friends and family
Friends and family have a very important role to play in helping you.
A guide for friends and family is available here.
Support and counselling
There are specialist services who may be able to help.
Some are available free of charge. These include:
All ages. Counselling for anyone affected by sexual assault or domestic and family violence (including family members). Open 24 hours daily.
16-25 year olds. All issues. Online resources only (no telephone/online chat support).
All ages. Counselling and referral for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex. Open 3pm-12am in your state, every day.
If English is not your first language
Call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask them to contact one of the helplines above for you.
If you have trouble with hearing
Contact Speak and Listen (speech to speech relay) on 1300 555 727 and ask them to contact a helpline for you.
More options for support
You can find more information on available support services.
It is important to make a record of the abuse before removing an image.
You may need this evidence to:
- Report it to the site or social media service where it was posted.
- Show police exactly what has happened.
For more information on how to collect and preserve evidence of image-based abuse, please see this simple guide.
4. How can I get an image or video of me taken down?
You can report the image to the website or social media service where it is posted, make a report to the Office, or contact the person who posted your image.
1. Report an image to the website or social media service
Each website and social media service, like Facebook or Instagram, has a different way of dealing with image-based abuse.
The portal has advice about what you can do to remove your image from different kinds of websites or social media services.
For more information see this guide on useful links for removing images
2. Report an image to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner
You can make a report to the Office if:
- You are worried about contacting a website or social media service yourself
- You need help to contact a service or website
- You have tried, but the image has not been removed
Our expert team are ready to work with you and find the best way to help.
3. Contact the person with your image
You could ask the person who shared your image to remove or delete it. Only do this if you think they will be reasonable.
An example of the kind of message you could send is provided here.
If you are unsure, it is probably best to get advice from someone you trust and try the other options listed above.
5. What are my legal options?
A lawyer can provide advice about whether the person who shared the image of you has broken the law and what to do next.
For a list of legal services, including pro bono services, see legal assistance.
6. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner
The portal has information on:
- Ways to report the abuse and try to have online images removed
- Help for you to report an image to a website to request image removal
- Ways to help you start feeling better
- Other people’s stories
- Contacts for police and legal help
- Contacts for support and counselling services
^Henry, Nicola & Powell, Anastasia & Flynn, Asher & Gendered Violence and Abuse Research Alliance & RMIT University. Centre for Global Research et al. (2017). Not just ‘revenge pornography’: Australians’ experiences of image-based abuse: a summary report. RMIT University, Melbourne.