Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Legal help

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 is important to get legal advice. We cannot provide legal advice, but we can provide some general points for you to consider and help you to find a lawyer or get legal advice.

Stay safe

If you are feeling unsafe right now, call the police on Triple Zero (000) or contact 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). Remember your safety is important. If an abusive person learns that you are seeking resources and information, their abusive behaviour may get worse. Learn more and connect with support.

You may also be able to apply for a protection order to keep you and your family safe.

Collecting evidence

If you intend to take legal action, such as applying for a protection order, you may need to provide evidence of the abuse. It is important that you remain safe while collecting evidence. Read our information about how to collect evidence.

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 anyone experiencing domestic violence. For a list of these legal services, go to our counselling and support services page or to 1800RESPECT’s service directory, which lists the legal services in each Australian State and Territory.

The Family Violence Law 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. Do not 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 in a safe location.

How to report technology-facilitated abuse

There are a number of options open to you if you would like to report different kinds of technology-facilitated abuse.

Report to the police

You can report technology-facilitated abuse, including cyberstalking, online abuse and image-based abuse, to the police. For more information see get help from the police.

Report cyberbullying to eSafety (under 18s)

If serious cyberbullying has been directed towards an Australian child, you can make a cyberbullying report to eSafety.

Assistance with cyber abuse and cyberstalking (18 and over)

If you are an adult experiencing cyber abuse, please see the information and resources on online abuse and cyberstalking as part of domestic and family violence. There is also general advice on how to deal with cyber abuse.

Report image-based abuse to eSafety

If you need help to remove abusive images or video, you can make an image-based abuse report to eSafety. You can also read out advice and guidance on image-based abuse.

Report child sexual abuse material to eSafety

If you wish to report child sexual abuse material for investigation, you can report this material to eSafety.

Report cybercrime to the police

If you think you have been the target of a cybercrime, such as online scams and identity theft, you can report this at your local police station.