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Online abuse is any type of abuse that occurs on the internet – many of us spend part of our day on social media, smartphones, emails, online dating, online gaming and more. Because of this, there has been a sharp rise in online abuse. Young people can be especially vulnerable and may experience cyberbullying, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or emotional abuse. It’s important that those affected by online abuse are able to recognise the different forms of abuse and find the help they need.

Examples of online abuse?

Online abuse can take many different forms and can affect anyone. Below are some examples:

  • Trolling – someone deliberately posts offensive, upsetting or inflammatory comments online in an attempt to hurt and provoke a response
  • Revenge porn – this is the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress
  • Cyber-stalking – Cyber-stalking is a pattern of online behavior that is the long-term, intrusive and persistent pursuit of one person by another, making the victim feel frightened and distressed
  • Grooming – Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child, young person or adult to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abusesexual exploitation or trafficking.

Other aspects of online abuse can include:

  • Trying to damage your reputation by making false comments
  • Accusing you of things you haven’t done
  • Tricking other people into threatening you
  • Stealing your identity
  • Setting up profiles in your name
  • Encouraging other people to be abusive or violent towards groups of people.

How can I get help?

Find a service local to you by searching on the Victims Choice website