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.