What to do if someone is threatening to share your intimate images
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?
Threats to share intimate images with the intent to cause distress is now an offence in UK law. This is included within the Domestic Abuse bill which can be found here. This was enacted into UK law on 29th June 2021, is the threat happened before this date, it may not be included.
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.
Accessing free legal advice
We work alongside the SPITE project at Queen Mary University London who provide free legal advice for victims of Intimate Image Abuse.
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.
This is an extension of the previous 'Facebook NCII pilot' and any images previously hashed through the pilot will continue to be protected and will be included in the StopNCII.org hash bank.
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.