Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

What is online abuse?

Online abuse is behaviour that has a threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating effect on a person.

Women who have a public profile because of their work are especially at risk of being targeted.

Online abuse can hurt you socially or psychologically, or even lead to physical harm. It can take many forms, including stalking and sexual harassment.

Common types of online abuse


Someone keeps provoking me online to get an emotional reaction.

Image-based abuse

Someone has shared or threatened to share intimate images or videos of me without my consent.

Sexual extortion

Someone is using my intimate images or videos to blackmail me.

Impersonation accounts

A fake social media account has been set up in my name to humiliate me.


My personal details have been shared online, resulting in offensive comments and unwanted contact from strangers.


My face has been added to a nude of someone else's body and posted online.

Defamatory comments

Someone has posted comments intended to harm my reputation.



Impacts of online abuse

Online abuse can have a devastating impact. It can affect women’s wellbeing, mental health, confidence, relationships and sense of safety.

It can also lead to women stepping back from public conversations or self-censoring out of fear for their privacy and safety.

Online abuse can quickly intensify in scale and nature. It can also feel deeply personal.

It's important to remember that online abuse is never acceptable; it reflects badly on the person who is abusing you.

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