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Options if eSafety can't investigate

If your current experience does not fit the criteria for eSafety to investigate, you may find it helpful to learn about other prevention and protection strategies.

You can also get help from other agencies and organisations.

On this page:

Report directly to online or electronic services and platforms

Generally, the quickest way to get harmful content taken down is to report it to the online service that has been used to send or share it. Many online services provide links or other methods for users to report abusive content or behaviour and they may help you even if your experience does not meet the legal threshold for investigation by eSafety. The eSafety Guide has more information about how to report issues to commonly used online services.

Before you report directly to online services providers, it is important to collect evidence, such as screenshots of the harmful content. You may need this if you wish to get help from police or seek legal assistance.

Learn more about how to collect evidence.

Find legal assistance

Legal advice can help you work out the best way to address the online harm you are experiencing.

Depending on your situation, this could include seeking a protection order to keep a person from contacting you. Or it may involve making a defamation claim if your reputation has been harmed – for more information, see our advice on dealing with defamation.

Free legal advice

Your local Community Legal Centre or Legal Aid in your state or territory may be able to provide free and confidential advice.

If you are under 25 you can get advice from Youth Law Australia.

Women’s legal services in each Australian state and territory provide free and confidential legal advice to women. Some states and territories also have specialised legal services for anyone experiencing domestic violence. 1800RESPECT’s service directory lists legal services in each Australian state and territory. The Family Violence Law website provides a comprehensive overview of the legal framework across Australia, as well as advice and links to resources. The content is available in 23 languages. 

There may also be a specialist legal service that can help. 

Find a private lawyer

You may like to engage a private lawyer. If you choose to do this, it's a good idea to ask about their fees before you sign up with them.

Find a private lawyer near you:

Find help from other agencies and organisations

You may find it useful to contact another agency or organisation to get help with the following issues.

Children and young people can be sexually abused online through the sharing of sexual content, comments or conversations, or through livestreaming sexual or sexualised activity or conversations. Usually they are tricked or persuaded to trust the person first, so it is easier to abuse them – this is called ‘grooming’.

Both sexual abuse and grooming a child for sexual abuse are crimes and should be reported to police immediately.

 

Stay safe

If you are in Australia and someone is in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000) now or contact the police in your country.

Online child sexual exploitation, including online grooming and inappropriate contact, should be reported to the Australian Federal Police-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE). If you think a child is at risk, report it at accce.gov.au or via this internationally recognised Virtual Global Taskforce logo button.

 

Report Abuse

 

Reports can also be made in confidence to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at crimestoppers.com.au.

 

Note: If the sexual abuse of someone under 18 is recorded, that recording is illegal and restricted online content called 'child sexual exploitation material'. Content that encourages or instructs people to sexually or physically abuse a child or exploit or groom them is also 'child sexual abuse material'. Report this material to eSafety immediately so it can be removed. You do not have to identify yourself. Reports can be made anonymously.

eSafety can investigate online hate speech and racist or discriminatory content only if it meets the threshold for one of our regulatory schemes. For example, when investigating adult cyber abuse we will consider whether the person has been targeted because of their racial or cultural background.

Adult cyber abuse can involve hate speech including misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, antisemitism and islamophobia, but for this abuse to meet the definition in the Adult Cyber Abuse Scheme, it must target an individual rather than a group of people and it must be menacing, harassing or offensive and intended to cause serious harm. For example, eSafety cannot act on behalf of an organisation that is experiencing racist or misogynist abuse online, as this abuse is directed at a group rather than a specific person.

The Australian Human Rights Commission investigates complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying based on a person’s sex, disability, race or age. Find out more on their complaint information page.

If your personal safety is at risk, please contact your local police. If you are in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000).

You may also wish to seek independent legal advice to determine other avenues of action.

eSafety can help sexual extortion when someone threatens to share intimate images or videos of you unless you give in to their demands.

All other scams can be reported to SCAMwatch, which provides information about how to recognise, avoid and report online scams. If fraudulent, incorrect, inaccurate or misleading online content seems to have originated from an Australian business, contact the Fair Trading organisation in your state or territory. These are listed on the SCAMwatch website.

If you are concerned about cybercrime, you can find more information, including about how to report, at www.cyber.gov.au. Cybercrime includes computer hacking, malicious software, phishing, identity theft and fraud.

Complaints about the mishandling of personal details by a Commonwealth or ACT government agency, or a private sector organisation can be made to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. You may be able to contact the administrators of the website and request that the content be removed. Once notified, website administrators may take action.

If your personal safety is at risk please contact your local police. If you are in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000).

You can report spam received by junk email, instant message, text or image-based mobile phone message via the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s spam complaint form.

eSafety is not able to deal with purely reputational damage, bad online reviews, strong opinions or banter. As explained in the explanatory memorandum to the Online Safety Act 2021, our legislation is not designed to assist in cases of reputational harm caused by the posting of defamatory material online.

In Australia, defamation is dealt with by the legal system, and for this reason, we suggest you seek legal assistance about your concerns. Most Community Legal Centres and Legal Aid Commissions are not able to advise on defamation matters, so you may need to engage a private lawyer.

You may be able to contact the administrators of the website and request that the content be removed. Once notified, website administrators may take action. For more information see report directly to online service providers.

In general terms, the intention of eSafety’s Image-Based Abuse Scheme is not to address the sharing of explicit images or videos created for a commercial purpose. We consider whether you had a 'reasonable expectation of privacy' when your images were published online, as this helps us determine whether we can take action to remove your images from online locations.

You may be able to pursue these types of issues under copyright law. The Australian Copyright Council provide a free online legal advice service for eligible people and also have user-friendly fact sheets about copyright.

If you have concerns about the copyright theft of a film or television program, you can report the matter to the Australian Screen Association.

You may also wish to seek legal assistance or hire a private lawyer.