What to do if you are feeling unsafe
If someone you have met online has threatened you, or made you feel unsafe in some other way, there is help available.
On this page:
Do you feel unsafe right now?
If you are in Australia and in immediate danger or at risk of harm call Triple Zero (000).
Contact your local police on 131 444 if there are threats to your safety or threats to your friends or family members.
What to do
If you have experienced physical or sexual assault or someone is threatening you, contact the police immediately. If you would like help to talk with the police, go to one of these LGBTIQ+ support organisations or go to your local police station and ask to speak with a LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officer (also known as a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer) to report the incident.
Screenshot the chat or post – if things turn nasty, you might need it as evidence to report the abuse to online services, police or eSafety. Find out more about how to collect evidence.
Report harmful content
Report harmful posts or profiles to the online service or platform first. If you don't hear back from the platform, report the harmful content to eSafety. You can find reporting links for most apps in The eSafety Guide.
Prevent further contact
Once you have collected evidence, you can use in-app functions or the settings on the web browser to mute, unfollow or block the other person and change your privacy settings. The eSafety Guide has advice on key online safety functions for many online services, including dating apps.
For image-based abuse, stop all contact with the other person. You can use in-app functions to mute, unfollow or block them, but don't block them until you are advised to do so by eSafety or the police.
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 10 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
Get more help
Experiencing or helping someone who has experienced serious online abuse can be very disturbing.
You can also find counselling and support from an LGBTIQ+ support service that is right for you.
Find out what young LGBTIQ+ people can do if something has happened to make them feel unsafe.
Domestic and family violence
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 at 1800RESPECT.
It is estimated that one in three LGBTIQ+ people have experienced domestic and/or family violence in a past or present relationship. This means that LGBTIQ+ people are as likely as women in the general (non-LGBTIQ+) population to experience domestic and family violence.*
Cyberstalking is the use of technology to stalk or repeatedly harass someone and is a form of online abuse. All Australian jurisdictions have laws dealing with cyberstalking. Check out our advice on cyberstalking, if you think you are being stalked online or offline by someone.
Navigating the online landscape can be both exciting and challenging. If you would like to read some tips and advice from the community on how to strengthen and maintain your resilience check our advice on building online resilience.
Fear of deportation/loss of visa status
Whether you have student, migrant, refugee, or asylum seeker status or are waiting for any change in your visa status, you are protected by Australian law. If you have experienced adult cyber abuse, your visa status will not be affected or cancelled because you decided to report it to the authorities.
Additional LGBTIQ+ support services
For more support services for the queer and LGBTIQ+ community across Australia, visit the ABC Queer and LGBTIQ+ support services page.
All ages. Counselling and referral for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and/or intersex. Phone counselling and online chat available every day from 3pm to 12am.
All ages. All issues. Phone counselling and online chat available all day, every day.
Last updated: 20/10/2023