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What to do if you shared someone's intimate image or video

There are things you can do to limit the damage if you have shared an intimate image or video of someone without their consent.

On this page:

What is image-based abuse or 'revenge porn'?

Image-based abuse – sometimes called ‘revenge porn’ – is when someone shares, or threatens to share, an intimate photo or video of another person without their consent

Examples of image-based abuse include:

  • sharing a nude selfie of your ex-partner on Instagram 
  • altering a photo to make someone you know look naked, then emailing it to lots of people
  • threatening to post a sexual video of a person on a porn site
  • tagging a nude with someone’s name, even though it’s not them.  

There are no excuses for image-based abuse. It doesn’t matter if you felt hurt after a relationship break-up, or you thought it would be funny – it’s never OK to share an intimate image or video without the consent of the person in it.

If you’ve done this, it’s a breach of trust and it’s illegal. Finding out what you can do to help fix it is a good first step towards limiting the damage. 

If you feel scared or upset, it may also be a good idea to get some support. You can contact: 

What are the consequences?

Image-based abuse can have a devastating impact on the person you did it to, now and in the future. It can harm their mental health and reputation. It can also lead to ongoing abuse and harassment by others who see the image or video.

What you have done is also illegal in Australia, so it can affect your future in many ways including:

  • exclusion from your school or other studies
  • exclusion from child-related employment in the future
  • loss of your job
  • criminal charges
  • fines or damages payments
  • harm to your reputation 
  • loss of trust from others.

You may never be able to repair your relationship with the person, but you may be able to reduce the harm done to them – if you act quickly. Making an effort to fix what you have done will also be taken into account if there’s an investigation.

How can I stop the image or video spreading?

Delete the images or videos from all devices

Delete all intimate images or videos of the person from your phone, hard drive and any other device, as well as from any backups or cloud storage. If you have threatened to share any of the images or videos or told others you will, let them know you now realise it’s wrong and you won’t do it.  

Delete the image or video, and any comments about it, from all online platforms and services 

If you have posted an intimate image or video anywhere online, delete it from the site, app, chat or message thread immediately. Also delete any comments you or others have made about it.

Ask others who received or shared the image or video to delete it

Ask the people you have shared the intimate image or video with to delete it online and from their devices immediately, along with any comments they made about it. Ask them to get anyone else they have on-shared it with to also delete the image or video and any comments. 

Ask the online platform or service to delete it

In many cases you can report the image or video to the site, app or service used to share or send it. You may be able to report the image or video anonymously (without having to give your name or contact details). Check The eSafety Guide for links to common platforms and services.

Apologise to the person and let them know help is available

If you know the person in the image or video, you should apologise to them – but be careful. If they don’t already know the intimate image or video was shared, they’re likely to be shocked and upset. So it would be best to check there’s a trusted adult around to support them and make sure they’re not at risk of harming themselves. 

If possible, let them know the following information, or pass it on through a trusted adult:

  • eSafety can help stop the spread of the photo or video if the person shown in it reports it using this link.
  • They may also be able to have a hash (digital fingerprint) created to prevent it being uploaded to specific platforms. 

How can I help prevent image-based abuse?

You can learn from this experience, and tell others so they learn from it too.

  • Never share an intimate image or video of a person without checking with them first, even if you think they might be OK with it.
  • Remember that even threatening to share an intimate image or video is a breach of trust and illegal.
  • If someone shares an intimate image or video of a person without their consent, of threatens to do it, call them out. If you know the person in the image or video, let them know how to get help.
  • If someone has sent you an intimate image or video of another person, delete it and tell the sender that sharing intimate content without consent is harmful and illegal.
  • If people are talking about sharing an intimate image or video without consent, tell them it’s not OK. 

Stay safe

Emergency help in Australia, any time of the day or night

If your life or safety is at risk and you need urgent help Triple Zero (000).

 

If you’re having thoughts about suicide or self-harm call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

Counselling and support services

Mensline

Supports men and boys who are dealing with family and relationship difficulties. Phone counselling and online chat available all day, every day.

More support services

Help in languages other than English

Call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask them to contact one of the helplines for you.

If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment

Contact Speak and Listen (relay call options) on 1300 555 727 and ask them to contact a helpline for you.

Last updated: 22/12/2023