Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web. Online harassment or abuse, sometime known as cyber abuse, could include: cyper-stalking, publishing revenge porn online, trying to damage your reputation, trolling, or encouraging other people to be abusive towards you online.
Social media and new technologies can be used as tools by perpetrators of domestic violence. Many people experiencing domestic violence offline are also abused, harassed and stalked online by their partners or ex-partners.
Common tactics for online or cyber abuse within an abusive relationship or when a person is being harassed include: accessing accounts, using spyware, posting on social media and tracking devices. Perpetrators may use these tools against the victim, and/or those closest to the victim.
The information that can be obtained by digital means increases the physical risks as well the mental and financial harm.
Online abuse and harassment is a criminal offence in England and Wales. Victims of abuse should contact the Police if they are experiencing online abuse or harassment. If the abuse is perpetrated by a partner, ex-partner or family member, this could be deemed as domestic abuse.
Some examples of how a partner, ex-partner or family member may abuse or harass an individual online are:
Spyware is designed to go unnoticed, however there may be some telling signs of spyware on your phone. The phone may get unusually hot or the battery drains quickly while you’re not using it. You may see notifications that you don’t recognise or your phone may take longer to start up or shut down than is normal. Spyware often uses a lot of phone memory. You can view which apps use the most memory in the settings on your phone – look for any apps that you don’t recognise.