What to do if someone is threatening to share your intimate images
Access the advice and information on this page in a video format below:
This refers to an implicit or explicit threat to have your intimate or sexually explicit material shared without your consent. The type of advice below is for situations where the perpetrator is a known person, for example, an ex-partner or family member, and they are making the threats to cause distress.
Is it against the law?
It is against the law in the UK to threaten to share an intimate image. Depending on when and what in the country this happened, the legislation that will apply is different. Please find more information about intimate image abuse laws here.
How is this different from 'sextortion'?
Sextortion, or webcam blackmail, are scams usually committed by criminal gangs operating overseas. They will have different motives and intentions of threatening to share the intimate images for purposes of financial gain rather than causing the victim distress (although this happens anyway).
What should I do if someone is threatening to share my intimate images?
Keep calm and don't panic
You haven’t done anything wrong and what’s happened is not your fault. You are not alone and we are here to help you. We know it’s easier said than done but try to keep calm and follow this advice.
The evidence can include screenshots of messages where the threats have been made, screenshots of the profile they are using, usernames and times and dates of when the messages were sent.
Sometimes if this has been going on for an extended period of time or if there are other concerning behaviours like harassment or abuse, it may be a good idea to create a timeline of events in as much detail as possible.
We understand that the first reaction you may have is to want to delete all the content immediately. This is your choice, but we do advise that if you want to seek legal action it may be best to contact the police first before reporting the content and risk having evidence removed prematurely.
Stop, block and report
We advise blocking all communication with the perpetrator, reporting any accounts they may have used to contact you or share the content on. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, we can do this for you.
It’s against the law in the UK to threaten to share someone’s intimate content. The legislation will depend on when this happened and in what country, please find more information about this here.
You can get in touch with the police using their non-emergency 101 number or you can find info about reporting to the police online here.
Remember, you are a victim of crime. Be prepared that they may not know the best way to deal with your problem, but you should always expect a non-biased, non-judgemental response.
Make sure you keep a record of your log/case number so the police can quickly access your details if you want to add additional information or get an update on the investigation. It will also save you having to repeat what has happened over and over which may be distressing for you.
If you are in any immediate threat of physical danger or risk, call 999.
Accessing free legal advice
Find information about services offering free legal advice for victims of intimate image abuse. Please find more information and details about the services here.
StopNCII.org is a platform designed to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image (NCII) abuse and works to digitally hash private sexual content and prevent this from being shared across the platforms of participating industry partners.
To be eligible to hash your content through StopNCII.org, you must:
• Be the person in the images/videos
• Be over the age of 18 in the content
• Have copies of the images/videos you wish to hash stored on your device
• The content is nude, semi-nude or engaging in a sexual act in the imagery.
What else can I do?
Privacy and security:
Now you have blocked all access from the blackmailer contacting you, it's now best to review and raise your privacy settings across all of your social media accounts and stay vigilant to new or suspicious friend requests. Find more privacy advice here.
Some victims of Sextortion find it reassuring to create Google Alerts. You can set these up with tags for your name so if anything is posted online in your name you will be alerted via an email, here's how you can do this.
Look after yourself:
We understand how distressing this can be: make sure you reach out for support to help you cope with what has happened. You can find more support services and organisations that might be able to give more help here.
Reach out for more support
We understand how distressing this can be: make sure you reach out for support to help you cope with what has happened.