Skip to content


Online abuse

Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the internet, for example through social media, or mobile phones. Online abuse covers a wide range of behaviours and technologies.

Some examples of online abuse can include:

  • trolling
  • stealing someone else’s identity
  • cyber-stalking
  • cyberbullying

It can be obvious when someone is being abusive online but the boundary between expressing a point of view and being abusive isn’t always clear.

A good way to look at it is to apply the same standards of behaviour online as you would in person. If someone says something that would be unacceptable face-to-face, it doesn’t make it acceptable just because it is online.

Additionally, online abuse could be a criminal offence, and should be reported to the police. Some examples of this could include:

  • Sending messages online that are grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.
  • Publishing private sexual images online without consent. This is more commonly known as ‘revenge porn’.

If you think that a criminal offence has taken place or you want to seek more advice and guidance on this, contact the non-emergency police number on 101.

Getting help

Action Fraud

Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

0300 123 2040

National Stalking Helpline

The National Stalking Helpline is run by Suzy Lamplugh Trust. They can offer information and guidance on topics related to stalking and harassment.

0808 802 0300

Revenge Porm Helpline

The Revenge Porn Helpline is the UK’s only service dedicated to supporting all adults who have been victim of intimate image abuse. They provide free, non-judgemental and confidential advice and support via email and phone.

03456 000 459