What is image-based abuse?

Technology plays a major role in how we connect and share our lives — from funny memes to cute cat videos. However, it’s crucial to be aware of its darker aspects, particularly image-based abuse. This type of abuse involves using technology to share intimate images without consent, often used as a means of control or humiliation.

If it happens to you, know that you’re not alone and help is available.

Types of Image-based abuse:

Revenge porn

‘Revenge porn’ is a form of digital abuse in which someone shares intimate photos or videos of their current or former partner without their consent

These sexual images may have been taken willingly, or under extreme pressure (“If you really love me, you’ll let me film you”). It can also include taking photos without the victim’s knowledge.

‘Revenge porn’ usually involves sharing images that were created in trust, either by threatening to share them or actually sharing them, without consent. 


‘Sextortion’ or sexual extortion is a form of blackmail, where someone will threaten to share nude photos to force the victim to meet certain demands. Read more about Sextortion here.

Australian law and image-based abuse


If you’re under 18 and you’re sharing explicit material or receiving explicit material from someone under 18, you could face severe punishment. You can learn more about sexting and the law here.

New Legislation

The Australian federal government has announced bipartisan efforts to outlaw sexual image-based abuse, including a ban on creating and distributing deep fake pornography. This initiative is aimed at strengthening laws against such abuse and ensuring harsher penalties for violators. Read more about this legislation.

How to Respond to Image-Based Abuse:

If you or anyone you know experiences image-based abuse, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Document everything: Save all evidence, including screenshots, URLs, and any communication related to the incident.
  2. Report it: If you encounter this type of abuse, you can report it to the eSafety Commissioner. If images have been posted online, contact the websites or social media platforms where they were posted and request immediate removal based on their policies against non-consensual sharing.
  3. Contact police: Report the incident to the police, as sharing intimate images without consent is illegal in many places.
  4. Seek legal advice: Consider consulting a lawyer who specialises in cyber law to understand your options for legal action against the perpetrator.
  5. Contact support services: Reach out to organisations that support victims of image-based abuse for emotional support and practical advice.
  6. Secure your accounts: If you think your devices may have been hacked, change your passwords and update the security settings on all social media and messaging apps to prevent further attacks.
  7. Talk to someone: Don’t go through this alone. For support, talk to a friend, family member, or contact 1800 RESPECT for confidential advice and support.

Remember, what happened is not your fault, and you have rights. Taking these steps can help you regain control of the situation.

Need someone to talk to? Free, confidential support is available.

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