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Image-based abuse

In the context of domestic and family violence, image-based abuse occurs when a partner or ex-partner shares — or threatens to share — intimate, nude or sexual images without the consent of those pictured.

This page is for anyone experiencing image-based abuse as part of domestic and family violence.

General advice is also available for anyone who is experiencing image-based abuse.

Staying safe

If you are in Australia and 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.

What is image-based abuse?

Image-based abuse, also known as ‘revenge porn’, occurs when intimate, nude or sexual images or videos of you are shared — or threatened to be shared — without your consent or permission.

An abuser can use image-based abuse to control you through: 

  • The threat to share intimate images unless you do what your abuser wants.
  • Pressure to send intimate images when you do not want to.
  • Intimate, nude or sexual images that have been taken without your permission that are used to threaten and harass you.

These images can be real, altered (e.g. Photoshopped) and drawn pictures and videos.

Common reactions to image-based abuse

The most important thing to remember is that image-based abuse is not your fault and you are not alone. 

The experience of a partner or ex-partner sharing — or threatening to share — an intimate, nude or sexual image can be traumatic and extremely stressful. 

Every person’s experience will be different. Depending on your precise situation, you might be feeling: 

  • angry, humiliated or embarrassed
  • overwhelmed, depressed or distrustful
  • scared about the impact it might have on your work or reputation
  • isolated or unable to talk with friends and family

Even though it may be hard to talk to someone about what you are going through, it is important to reach out and get help. Learn more about how to get help and support for image-based abuse as part of domestic and family violence.

What can you do about image-based abuse?

There are a number of options you can take to try and remove images that have been shared without your consent, but your personal safety is the most important thing. It is important to get a safety plan and to plan for your online safety before you request the removal of any abusive images.

Make a safety plan

A safety plan can help you take steps to leave an abusive relationship or deal with image-based abuse from an ex-partner.

Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) and they will help you make a safety plan. Remember, if an abusive person learns that you are seeking resources and information, it is possible that the abuse may get worse. For your safety, use a public phone or a friend’s phone to make the call. 

Online safety planning as part of a broader safety plan

An online safety plan can help you deal with image-based abuse as part of an over-arching safety plan. eSafety can help with online safety planning. 

Connect with support

Remember that image-based abuse is not your fault. Learn more about how to get help and support.

Find out more about image-based abuse

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Image-based abuse can happen to anyone.

There’s more help for Australian victims of image-based abuse than ever before.

If you’re a victim of image-based abuse, eSafety can help. 

Image-based abuse is when someone shares or threatens to share your intimate images or videos

An image is intimate if it shows nudity, sexual activity, or a person without religious or cultural clothing they would normally wear in public

It also includes digitally altered images where a person’s image is modified to appear intimate.

It’s happened to one in ten adult Australians and this figure is even higher for some groups such as women aged 18 to 24.

Image-based abuse can take a variety of forms. Ex-partners may do it to shame or get back at someone. 

Friends or peers may do it for social standing, out of social pressure or even for a laugh at someone else’s expense.

Others use it to blackmail, typically for money or more intimate images.

Image-based abuse also frequently occurs as part of domestic or family violence.

No matter where you live in Australia, there are laws to protect you from image-based abuse.

There’s eSafety’s civil penalties scheme, a world first, which covers all of Australia. There are also criminal laws enforced by police.

At eSafety, we work to help victims of all ages experiencing image-based abuse.

We talk through the options, provide support and work to ensure positive outcomes for victims.

This includes having intimate content and offending accounts removed quickly. 

and also taking action against the person responsible. 

To report image-based based abuse or find out more about how eSafety can help, visit our website. 

Overview of image based abuse