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Dealing with direct messages or emails

If you receive an intimate image or video via a direct message, text, AirDrop or email, there are options for dealing with it.

What to do

If the image or video is of you 

If someone has shared a nude or sexual image or video of you without your consent, it's called image-based abuse. This is illegal.

Threatening to share your intimate image online without your consent is also image-based abuse. Do not give in to the threats.

The intimate image can be a real photo or video, or a fake that has been made to look like you. Or it can be an image of you without religious or cultural attire that you usually wear in public.

  • If you are over 18 years of age in the picture or video, take screenshots of the message. Do not take a screenshot if you are 18 years or under in the image or video. Find out more about taking screenshots.
  • If you received the image or threat via email, keep the email as evidence.
  • Report the image-based abuse to eSafety using our online form.
  • Block the sender’s number or account to stop them contacting you again.

There are criminal laws that deal with image-based abuse. Find out what the law is in your state or territory.

If the image or video is of someone else

If you receive an unwelcome message or email that includes an intimate image or video of someone else, it is called unwanted contact.  

Unwelcome intimate images can be of male, female or transgender bodies. Sometimes intimate images of male bodies are called ‘dick pics’.

  • Take screenshots of the message you received (unless it shows a nude or sexual image or video of someone who is 18 years or under, which is illegal). 
  • If you received the image via email, keep the email as evidence.
  • Report the sender to the host platform or service that was used to send the message or email (for example, the social media site, gaming app, phone or email service).
  • Block the person's number or account to stop them contacting you again.
  • For more information, read eSafety’s advice about dealing with unwanted or unsafe contact

 

How to report and block unwanted contact

Most phone and email providers offer advice about how to deal with communication that is unwanted, obscene, abusive or malicious.

Find out how to change your device settings to mute, hide or block unwanted contact:

You can also download apps to restrict incoming calls and messages. 

Find out how these commonly used phone and email services provide support:

The Handling of Life Threatening and Unwelcome Communications Code may be helpful if you are unable to block the phone number or email address. They may also be able to assist if the communication is frequent and repeated over a period of time.

Use The eSafety Guide to help you report inappropriate content on games, apps and social media. 

Stay safe

If you are feeling unsafe now, call the police on Triple Zero (000).

If you are experiencing image-based abuse as part of domestic and family violence, contact 1800RESPECT for help with safety planning. Learn more and connect with support.

Why should I take a screenshot?

It’s important to keep records of all communication with a person who shares or threatens to share an intimate image or video. It’s also useful when dealing with unwanted contact.

Taking a screenshot is a good way to do this, unless it shows a nude or sexual image or video of someone who is 18 years or under. In this case there could be serious legal consequences. Report it immediately to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

Collecting evidence will be helpful if you decide to report image-based abuse or unwanted contact. Evidence is also important if you contact the police or a lawyer. Find out how to collect evidence.

Civil penalties scheme

The civil penalties scheme allows victims of image-based abuse to make a report to the eSafety Commissioner. eSafety can help with removal of image-based material that has been posted online and in some cases, may also be able to take action against the person responsible for the image-based abuse.

Find out more

Counselling and support services

Headspace

12 to 25 year olds. All issues. Phone counselling available all day, every day. Online chat available 9am to 1am EST daily.

Lifeline

All ages. All issues. Phone counselling available all day, every day. Online chat available 7pm to 4am AEST daily.

Support services