Supporting victims of intimate image abuse
Always be supportive towards someone who has told you this has happened to them and avoid victim-blaming, particularly with phrases such as “you shouldn’t have taken an image in the first place”, “you should have picked a better partner” or “well, what did you expect?” This individual has been the victim of a crime, for which the effects are often incredibly distressing and even traumatic. Make sure you are supporting the individual, listen to them when they talk through what has happened and make sure they know they are not alone and there is support available to help them move on from this.
It’s important to remember that incidents are often far more complex than they may first appear, and on a regular basis we see the sharing of intimate content as just one incident that is part of a much wider and more complex situation. This might include issues around domestic abuse/coercive control, sexual assault, honour-based violence, harassment, stalking and voyeurism. Be vigilant and willing to open up a conversation about other issues if it’s appropriate.
You should encourage the victim to follow our advice about retaining evidence and support them to contact the police on the non-emergency number 101.
Contacting the Helpline
If you or the victim would like further advice, you can contact us and we will do what we can to support you further. We can support victims via professional bodies and communicate with you as a professional if the victim does not want to make contact directly.