How to report abuse or content to eSafety
No one should have to deal with serious online abuse or exposure to illegal and restricted online content on their own. eSafety is here to support you.
On this page:
How eSafety can help
Serious online abuse
You can get help for cyberbullying targeting a child or young person under 18, adult cyber abuse or image-based abuse (sharing, or threatening to share, an intimate image or video without the consent of the person shown). The online or electronic service or platform has a responsibility to make sure people follow their terms of service, so often they can take action to stop abuse. But sometimes that’s not enough.
In the most serious cases, when the service or platform does not help, eSafety can direct them to remove harmful content that has been sent to an Australian, or posted or shared about them.
Sometimes, we may be able to fine or take legal action against a service or platform that refuses to remove harmful content, or the person who sent, posted or shared it.
When we receive a report about serious online abuse, our investigators can also help you to protect yourself, deal with the experience, and find counselling and support.
For eSafety to investigate, your report must meet a legal ‘threshold’. This means it must be serious enough to be covered by the scope of the Online Safety Act, which is the law that gives eSafety the power to direct online services to remove content.
Find out more about the definitions and thresholds for investigation.
If you're being blackmailed for money or more intimate content this is called sexual extortion or ‘sextortion’.
- Do stop all contact with the person blackmailing you.
- Do not pay the blackmailer or give them more money or intimate content.
- Do report what’s happening.
- Remember, it’s not your fault, even if you shared the intimate content with them in the first place – anyone can experience sextortion.
You can also report online crimes to the police on the ReportCyber website.
Illegal and restricted online content
In certain circumstances, we can also direct an online or electronic service or platform to either remove or ensure that access is restricted to online content that is inappropriate for children and young people under 18.
What to do
Follow these steps to deal with serious online abuse or illegal and restricted content.
To make a report to an online service or platform, or to eSafety or the police, you will need to collect evidence of what has happened and where. This can include noting information like the web page address (URL) and the other person’s user profile. In some cases, taking screenshots may be appropriate (but not if it’s illegal content).
Find out more about how to collect evidence.
Report harmful content
For eSafety to investigate cyberbullying of a child or young person under 18, or adult cyber abuse, the harmful content must have first been reported to the service or platform used to send, post or share it – before it is reported to eSafety. This is often the fastest way to have the content removed. The eSafety Guide explains how to report complaint to common services and platforms, including social media, online games and other apps.
If the cyberbullying or adult cyber abuse is very serious, and the service or platform does not remove the harmful content, then you can report it to eSafety for investigation.
If you're experiencing image-based abuse and you're NOT being blackmailed, you can report it to eSafety immediately.
If you're experiencing image-based abuse and you ARE being blackmailed:
- If you are under 18, the best way to get help is to report it to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE)
- If you're 18 or older, report it to any platforms or services where the blackmailer contacted you. If your intimate image or video is shared, or if the platform doesn't help, you can report it to eSafety.
You can report illegal and restricted online content to eSafety immediately.
Stop further contact, tighten security and prevent sharing
For cyberbullying of a child or young person under 18 and adult cyber abuse, you can use in-app functions to ignore, hide or mute the other person's posts or comments. After collecting evidence you can also block them. It's also a good idea to update your privacy settings. The eSafety Guide has advice on key online safety functions for many services and platforms, including social media, online games and other apps.
For image-based abuse, stop all contact with the other person. You can use in-app functions to ignore, hide or mute their posts or comments. After collecting evidence you can also block them.
You can also block your intimate image or video from being uploaded to some social media and other platforms. You need to have a copy of the image or video, but you don’t need to send it to the platform – they will create a digital ‘fingerprint’ (or ‘hash’) instead.
- If you’re under 18, you can use takeitdown.ncmec.org – a free online tool that prevents your image or video being shared on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Yubo, OnlyFans and Pornhub.
- If you’re 18 or older, you can use StopNCII.org – a free online tool that prevents your image or video being shared on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Bumble, OnlyFans and Reddit.
For illegal and restricted online content, stop searching for that type of material so it does not appear in your feeds. You can also use optional filtering or parental control products and check your privacy settings to prevent further exposure.
Get more help
Experiencing or helping someone who has experienced serious online abuse, or coming across harmful material online, can be very disturbing.
You may find it helpful to use the strategies we recommend for managing the impacts of cyberbullying of children, adult cyber abuse or image-based abuse or being exposed to illegal and restricted online content.
You can also find counselling and support that is right for you.
Filling out a report form
To report serious online abuse or illegal and restricted online content you need to fill out one of our online forms. We take reports this way to make sure we have the most important information about your case right from the start. This helps us to assess your report quickly and decide if we can investigate it or help you in any other way.
When you click or tap on a red Report Now button you will be taken to a page where you can select a form for the type of report you want to make. If you are unsure which one to choose, you can tap or click on the option 'I need help selecting the right form' and follow a few easy steps to get to the best one.
Cyberbullying and adult cyber abuse reports
We need you to fill out your name and contact details – we can only have harmful content removed is we know who it targets.
Image-based abuse reports
Image-based abuse reports can be made anonymously, but if you choose not to include contact details on the report form we won’t be able to ask further questions or let you know the outcome of your report. One way to report to us without giving us your name is to set up an email account which does not use your name (for example: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Illegal and restricted online content reports
If you want to be notified about the outcome you will need to include your contact details. Alternatively, you may make an anonymous report.
Support in your language
For information in another language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 from anywhere in Australia (for the cost of a local call).
Support for hearing or speech impairment
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).
What happens next
For a report about child cyberbullying, adult cyber abuse or image-based abuse, you can expect to hear from us within two business days – but in many cases we will contact you sooner.
We aim to remove child sexual abuse material within two business days. We investigate reports of illegal and restricted online content as quickly as possible, but child sexual exploitation material is usually our priority.
When we have completed our assessment of your report, we will notify you of our approach using the email address you supplied. We will also notify you if we decide not to investigate your report.
Possible outcomes of an investigation
Cyberbullying: Removal of harmful content, issuing a notice requiring the person responsible to refrain from further cyberbullying and/or apologise, issuing fines or penalties for services or platforms that don’t remove content, further legal action.
Adult cyber abuse: Removal of harmful content, fines or penalties for services or platforms that don’t remove content, fines or penalties for the person responsible if they don’t remove the content, further legal action.
Image-based abuse: Removal of intimate images and videos, fines, penalties or other regulatory action against the person responsible.
Illegal and restricted content: Removal of illegal content, removal or restriction of access to content that is inappropriate for children, referral of content to law enforcement agencies for further investigation.
Last updated: 11/01/2024