Image-based sexual abuse (sometimes referred to as ‘revenge porn’) is a criminal offence.

It’s when is when someone shares sexually explicit images or videos of another person without their consent, and with the aim of causing them distress or harm. It refers to materials that are shared both online and offline, and includes uploading images to the internet and social media channels, sharing by text and email, and showing someone a physical or electronic image or video.

Anyone can be affected by image-based sexual abuse, but the perpetrator will often be an ex-partner or person known to you. Image-based sexual abuse is a violation of privacy and people who have been targeted often feel humiliated, angry or depressed. You might feel too ashamed or embarrassed to report the crime to the police, but if you’ve experienced image-based sexual abuse it’s important to remember that you’re not to blame – only the offender is responsible for this crime taking place.

Once someone has sexually explicit images or videos of you, it’s hard to control how they use them. Here are some tips to help you stay safe online:

  • Even if you are in a relationship, think carefully before you share any sexual images with anyone, regardless of whether this is online, in person or via text message.
  • Check your privacy settings on social media regularly to keep them up to date.
  • Don’t share personal information or contact details online.
  • Turn your webcam off when you are not using it.

If someone has posted explicit images of you online, report the incident to the website where the images were posted and ask for them to be removed. If you decide to report the crime to the police, try to keep evidence of the incident by taking a record and screenshots of any posts or messages.

If you need further advice on how to get explicit online material removed, contact the Revenge Porn Helpline on 0845 6000 459.

When you report a crime to the police, they should automatically ask you if you would like help from an organisation like Victim Support. But anyone affected by crime can contact us directly if they want to – you don’t need to talk to the police to get our help.

You can contact us by:

Alternatively you can create a free account on My Support Space – an online resource containing interactive guides to help you manage the impact that crime has had on you.

If English is not your first language and you would like some support, call our Supportline and let us know which language you speak, and we will call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible. We also welcome calls via Relay UK on 18001 08 08 16 89 111.

Families and friends affected by crime can also contact us for support and information. If you’re a child or young person under 18 and are looking for support, visit our You & Co website, where we have lots of information and tips specifically for children and young people.

You can also contact the Revenge Porn Helpline, which offers advice and information on the legal help available. You can call the helpline on 0845 6000 459 and it is open from 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday.