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FAQ about making an adult cyber abuse report

These frequently asked questions (FAQ) are designed to help you understand how to make an adult cyber abuse report to us.

You can also read an overview of the how to make a report and, once you are ready, you can start your report.

The most effective way to get abusive material removed is to report it to the website, social media service, app or platform it was posted on. The eSafety Guide has reporting links and advice on online safety.

Most social media services and platforms have rules prohibiting abusive material and offer reporting tools where you can ask for abusive material to be removed. Some social media services can take up to 48 hours to remove abusive material.

Need to report abusive content on a social media service or other platform?  Visit the eSafety Guide for reporting links and advice on online safety. It is also a good idea to collect evidence before you report abusive content, in case you need to report it to police or wish to take action later on.

If you have difficulty getting abusive content removed, read our advice on how to report online abuse to social media services or platforms.

You can make an adult cyber abuse report if you are aged 18 or over and live in Australia.

If you are under 18 and live in Australia, you can make a cyberbullying complaint. You can also make a cyberbullying complaint if you are a parent or guardian of a child who is being bullied online, or in some cases if you were under 18 when you were cyberbullied.

Adults can also lodge a complaint with the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

It is good idea to collect evidence before you report abusive content to social media services or other platforms or make a report to eSafety. Find out more about how to collect evidence in cases of adult cyber abuse.

You can find out more about what will happen when you make a report in how we handle adult cyber abuse reports.

There are a number of things we can do, such as:

  • give advice on what you can do yourself
  • assist you in resolving your concern, which may include approaching social media services to have material removed
  • consider legislation such as the Privacy Act to ensure we are not infringing upon anyone’s rights

We will get your consent before acting upon anything.

We do not have any formal powers in this area, but we try to provide general advice and guidance. In extreme cases, we may be able to approach the social media service or website where the abusive content has been shared.

You can find more information on how we handle reports.

If you feel unsafe or the abuse is part of domestic and family violence, contact police immediately.

Find out more about how to get help from police in cases of adult cyber abuse.

  • We cannot access information unless it is publicly available or provided to us on a voluntary basis (e.g. we cannot trace IP addresses to identify people or access social media postings which are private).
  • We do not have legislated enforcement powers to punish or reprimand those who cyber abuse adults.
  • We cannot force people, social media services or online content hosts to remove cyber abuse directed at adults – we can only try to persuade them to do it themselves.
  • We cannot provide legal advice – you are free to consult a lawyer or contact your local community legal centre should you wish to explore legal options through the courts.

In extreme cases, in which we are able to approach to social media service or website where abusive content was posted, we do not need to identify you to get material removed. However, if we decide the best way to handle your complaint is to issue a formal end-user notice to the person posting the abusive material, we may need to tell that person who has made the report. By law we are required to give that person a right of reply so they get a chance to tell their version of what happened.

We will confirm that you are comfortable with us issuing an end-user notice before we do so.

We can use an end-user notice to request that the person posting abusive material:

  • removes it from the social media service it is on
  • stops posting any further cyberbullying material about you
  • apologises to you

Yes. We can request the social media service to remove the material regardless of where the material was posted.

Find out why personal information is collected and how we protect and handle this information under our Privacy Policy.

Before submitting any information to us, please read the collection notification for adult cyber abuse reports. The collection notification sets out the types of information we may collect, why we collect this information and how it may be used in managing your report.

We may encourage you to report the matter to police if you have not already done so. Find out more about getting help from police in cases of adult cyber abuse.

If you are feeling unsafe or the abuse is part of domestic and family violence, contact police immediately. Call Triple Zero (000) now or contact your local police station.

For information in another language, call 131 450 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call. The Translating and Interpreting Service can also call us on your behalf. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please visit the National Relay Service or call 133 677 for TTY and voice calls (for the cost of a local call).

Start your report

Once you have collected all relevant information and evidence about your adult cyber abuse case, please make a report to eSafety.