What is online abuse?

Woman in kitchen holding cupOnline abuse covers a range of behaviours that people use to control, frighten or humiliate another person using technology.

These abusive behaviours include using social media, games or other forums to make:

  • abusive, degrading or hateful comments about a person
  • threats of physical or sexual violence to a person
  • repeated or unwanted sexual requests to a person.

Abusive behaviours also include:

  • constantly checking on a person through their social media activity. Read more about cyberstalking
  • hacking into a person’s email or social media account to discover information about them or to impersonate them
  • setting up fake social media accounts in another person’s name
  • sharing, or threatening to share, intimate pictures of a person. Read more about image-based abuse 
  • spreading lies or malicious rumours about a person.

Women are particularly likely to experience online abuse in the form of sexual harassment or offensive or degrading comments about their gender.

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