Getting legal help

If you feel unsafe right now, call the police on Triple Zero (000).

If someone is using technology to abuse, control or frighten you, there are laws that can help protect you.

Because every situation is different it’s important to get legal advice. We can’t provide that … but we can provide some general points for you to consider.

Is it illegal?

Technology-facilitated abuse covers a wide range of behaviours, many of which are crimes under Australian law and can be reported to the police.

There are laws that cover behaviours like cyberstalking, sending threatening emails, texts, or messages, installing spyware on electronic devices, cyberbullying and sharing intimate images without consent.

Find out more about the laws that cover the use of technology to abuse in your State or Territory from the legal guides on the SmartSafe: technology abuse & your safety website.

Keeping evidence

If you intend to take legal action you may need to provide evidence of the abuse. It’s important that you remain safe while collecting evidence. Read our information about how to collect evidence.

Reporting cybercrime

If you think you have been the target of a cybercrime you can approach your local police station for help. You can also make a report to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

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Cyberbullying—under 18s

If serious cyberbullying has been directed towards an Australian child, it can be reported to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.

Australians under the age of 18 are encouraged to use the Office’s CyberReport function to report the misuse of intimate images and to provide information relating to the age of the person involved.

Where can I get legal advice?

A lawyer or legal service can help by discussing legal options with you, including how to apply for a protection order. They can also speak to the police with you, if you need.

Women’s legal services in each Australian State and Territory provide free and confidential legal advice to women. Some States and Territories also have specialised legal services for women experiencing domestic violence. For a list of these legal services, go to 1800RESPECT‘s website to see the services and support map which lists the legal services in each Australian State and Territory.

The Family Violence Law Help website provides a comprehensive overview of the legal framework across Australia, as well as advice and links to resources. The content is available in 23 community languages.

Remember to use a safe phone, like a public phone or a friend’s mobile, when contacting services for help. Don’t use your own mobile or home phone in case someone is tracking you or can overhear you. Take the same precautions with computers and tablets—use a computer at a public library or a friend’s computer or tablet.

Violence and protection orders

You may need legal protection if technology is being used to abuse, control or frighten you. You, or the police on your behalf, can apply for a protection order preventing the abuser from doing things that can include approaching you, contacting you, or monitoring where you go and what you do. Contact your local police to discuss a violence or protection order. A lawyer or legal service can also help you apply for a protection order if you need one.

Remember that it is a crime to breach a protection order. Once you have a protection order in place, you should let the police know immediately if you think it is being breached. Make sure you keep a record of any incidents you think are breaches as this may help if evidence is required later.

Protection orders are known by different names in Australian States and Territories:

Australian Capital TerritoryDomestic Violence Orders
New South WalesApprehended Domestic Violence Orders
Northern TerritoryDomestic Violence Orders
QueenslandDomestic Violence Protection Orders
South AustraliaIntervention Orders
TasmaniaFamily Violence Orders
VictoriaFamily Violence Intervention Orders
Western AustraliaViolence Restraining Orders

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