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Online safety checklist for friends and family

If someone you know is being followed, stalked or controlled through social media or their devices (phones, tablets or computers), these steps can help you support them.

You can report tech abuse such as cyberstalking to eSafety if it meets the threshold for one of the regulatory schemes that allow us to have seriously harmful content removed. 

  1. Safety first

    It is a fact that the most dangerous time for a person in an abusive relationship is when they leave.

    If the person you are worried about lives with an abusive partner, or has an abusive ex, help them contact 1800Respect (1800 737 732) for safety planning before you do anything else. This is critical for their safety.

    Let them use your phone or computer or help them use a device in a library or another safe place. Tell them not to use their own devices as the abuser may be able to discover what they are doing.

    Do not try to confront the abuser yourself.

  2. Be there for them

    They may not be ready to make changes yet and it may not be safe for them to do so. Listen to them, respect them and offer comfort. Try not to judge or demand change. They know their situation better than anyone. Praise their strengths and keep in contact with them, unless this is not safe for them. Let them know you are there.

    The following steps are helpful when they are ready.

  3. If possible, get them their own device to use that can be kept at your place

    Make sure they sign into the device using a new email address, so the abuser does not find out about the device. Make sure the bill or invoice does not reach the abuser or get a prepaid service instead.

  4. Do not tag them

    Anything might set off the abuser. Do not write anything about them on social media or even mention them in comments. Do not post photos or check them in, even if you think it is being friendly or supportive. It is not worth the risk.

  5. Use the checklist

    Go through the online safety checklist with them.

  6. Encourage them to get support

    Stalking, harassment and abuse are incredibly draining and frightening. Reassure them it is not their fault, and when they are ready help them get some professional or legal support. Learn more and connect with support.