There are a number of support and counselling services to help deal with the emotional effects of imagebased abuse for all Australians. 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.
Remember, if you, or a friend, has experienced image-based abuse, you are not alone. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner is here to help. You can find more information on available support services.
Friends and family
Friends and family have a very important role to play in helping victims of image-based abuse. You might want to talk to your aunties or uncles or an Elder for support.
Friends and family who offer unconditional support, focus on the victim’s experience, and do not blame the victim, are the most helpful. A guide for friends and family is available here.
You will find more information on how to remove images below. But it is important to make a record of the abuse first.
You may need evidence of the image-based abuse to:
If you have been the victim of image-based abuse you may be able to take legal action.
For more information on how to collect and preserve evidence of image-based abuse, please see this simple guide.
There are some key steps you can take to have images or video removed. These include reporting the material to a social media service or website to have it taken down, making a report to the Office and contacting the person who posted your image.
1. Report an image to the website or social media service it is posted on
Most major websites and social media services have policies that prohibit the posting or sharing of intimate images without consent. They also provide specific instructions for reporting and take down.
The image-based abuse portal has a list of popular sites that have these instructions. The portal also provides advice about what you can do if your image is posted on an unlisted website or service. These can include websites that promote abuse (also known as ‘revenge porn’ sites). You can also learn how to block your images from search results in Google and Microsoft Bing.
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:
Our expert team are ready to work with you and find the best way to help.
3. Contact the person with your image
An initial course of action could be to ask the person who has shared your image to remove or delete the image. You can let them know they do not have consent to share or post your image.
An example of the kind of message you could send is provided here.
However, if you fear for your safety, or are experiencing image-based abuse as part of an abusive relationship, it is best to try other options.
If someone has shared nude, sexual or intimate images of you, or is threatening to do so, there may be laws to protect you.
The Federal Government is looking at ways to strengthen laws to better protect Australians against image-based abuse.
Get help from the police
If you contact police, you can ask to speak to an Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer. Local police can apply for a protection order to protect you from a violent or abusive partner or person, if you need this.
The Office’s image-based abuse portal provides an Australia-wide overview of relevant Commonwealth laws and state laws as a guide.
You can find more information on getting help from police and legal assistance.
If you report image-based abuse to police you will need to take detailed information about what has happened to help in any investigations. A simple guide about how to collect evidence can be found here.
A lawyer or legal service can help by discussing:
Your lawyer can also speak to the police with you, if required.
For specialist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services, please visit the following websites:
Advice on where to get other legal advice, including pro bono legal assistance, can be found here.
The Federal Government has given the Office of the eSafety Commissioner the primary role in helping support victims of image-based abuse. The Office’s image-based abuse portal gives victims access to a range of resources and assistance.
The office provides:
^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. This research covered three behaviors: the taking without consent, the sharing without consent and threats to share.
^^Research commissioned by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, May 2017. Indicates it is 11% for the total population aged 18 years and over. Respondents included 3,216 online women aged 15+, and 903 online men aged 18+ in Australia.