If someone is abusing, threatening or stalking you through technology, getting help and support straight away — or as early as you can — will really help.
If you are experiencing or have experienced domestic and family violence, you may be feeling very distressed and you might be in physical danger.
You need to make sure that you, and those you love, are safe as you work your way through your situation.
Remember, it is not your fault — and it is never too early or too late to reach out for help.
1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) can help with safety planning. Once you have your safety plan, it is time to focus on yourself, and those you love, rather than on the abusive person.
Getting good support straight away will help you and those you love cope better not only now but also in the future.
Common reactions to online abuse, threats and cyberstalking
Being abused, threatened and cyberstalked is traumatic and extremely stressful, and reactions can vary. It is normal to experience one or more of these reactions, such as feeling:
- confused, anxious and powerless
- angry, depressed and distrustful
- isolated from family and friends
- embarrassed, ashamed or guilty
- that you are watching your back all the time and are unable to have any peace
You may find it harder to:
- remember things
- get organised
- manage caring responsibilities
You could also:
- become super-focused and notice and remembering everything
- be unable to ‘switch off’
The most important thing to remember that the abuse is not your fault.
Why support is important
Although seeking support can be hard, getting support now will help you and those you love in the long run.
Friends and family can give you great support so if you can, tell them what is happening.
Even if you can talk to friends or family, talking to a trained person is important for you. Even if you feel as though you are coping now, you, and many other people, will find that talking to a trained person can help ensure that you cope well with any legal processes or any ongoing contact with the abuser (such as arrangements for any children).
A trained person is professional and independent, and a person you can be completely honest with. They can provide a safe, non-judgmental space for you to retell your story and talk through your fears, while gently guiding you with strategies and resources to support you. This can be very helpful.
Remember, it is normal to need help, even after the abuse has stopped.
If you are, or have been, abused, threatened or stalked through technology:
Confidential counselling, support and information for people affected by sexual abuse or domestic and family violence. Available 24/7.
All ages. All issues. Phone counselling available all day, every day. Online chat available 3pm to 12am AEST daily.
Find a support service that is right for you
Our counselling and support services page lists many other services that can help you. We can also connect you with legal help.
Contact a psychologist and/or a counsellor
Your doctor (GP) can refer you to a counsellor through a local health service, mental health nurses or a psychologist. Your GP does this through the Mental Health Treatment Plan Program, which is subsidised by Medicare. This means you can see a psychologist or counsellor for a number of sessions either for free or at a low cost.
Urgent psychiatric help
If you or someone you love has a serious psychiatric or psychological episode, such as hallucinations or intends to harm or kill themselves, contact their GP, counsellor or psychologist. If you cannot find someone who is available, you can take, or call an ambulance to take them, to the local hospital emergency department.
Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance if there are immediate safety concerns for the person or for others.
If it is safe for you to stay
Do not leave alone any person who has expressed an intent to kill themselves. Stay with them until help arrives or you can get them to help.
If they are abusive or in a dangerous situation, you must put your safety first. Leave safely and then call Triple Zero (000).
If anyone is in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000) now.
Support for children and young people
If your child is:
- at school, TAFE or university you can seek support through their education provider, if you feel comfortable doing so. Talk to the welfare officer, counsellor or student well-being coordinator.
- aged 8 to 25 contact Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800). They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, free of charge. Counsellors can also chat online at Kids Helpline.
- aged 12 to 25 eHeadspace offers free online counselling for young people aged 12 to 25 and their families.
- aged 12 to 25 Headspace offers free or low cost face-to-face support for young people aged 12 to 25, and their families. Centres are located around Australia — contact the centre near you directly for an appointment.
Help for abusers
If a person abusing you, your family or friends is in serious danger, threatening to harm themselves or others, or is clearly psychologically or mentally unwell, call Triple Zero (000).
You must put your safety first, leave the situation if you can do so safely and call for help as soon as you can. Even if they are close to you, the best thing is to get yourself and others away quickly and safely and then call for help. You will not be able to help them yourself and may put yourself and others in danger if you stay and try.
MensLine Australia (1300 78 99 78) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is available from anywhere in Australia and is staffed by professional counsellors, providing men with confidential and anonymous information and support.