Student News and Events

News and events for University of Brighton students

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Protect yourself from online abuse – ‘Sextortion’

‘Sextortion’ is an increasingly common form of blackmail that involves threatening to publish sexual information, photos or videos about someone. This may be to gain money or to coerce the victim to do something against their will.

People are often targeted through dating apps, social media, webcams or pornography sites. Perpetrators may use a fake identity to befriend you online and then threaten to send images to others.  Sextortion can be committed by individuals, or organised crime gangs.

What to do if you’ve been targeted

  • Don’t panic, help and support is available
  • Don’t pay
  • Save the evidence: take screenshots, save messages and images, collect URL links to where the information is being shared online
  • Report it to social media companies if communication happened on these channels
  • Report it to your internet service provider
  • Block all communication with the person targeting you
  • Consider speaking to people that you trust and accessing support services

Disclose harassment, discrimination, violence or abuse to the university

If you have experienced ‘sextortion’ or any other form of abuse, harassment, violence or discrimination, the university’s Disclosure Response Team are here to support you. You can disclose an incident to us, either with your name or anonymously. If you identify yourself, our Disclosure Response Team can then help you get the support you need.

Our trained staff are here to:

  • Provide practical support
  • Signpost to specialist services
  • Explain options for making a formal report or complaint
  • Support you with managing your safety

Contacting the Disclosure Response Team does not start a formal report or complaint to the university or to the police. The Disclosure Response Advisor will take you through your options so that you can make an informed decision.

Report it to the police

We understand that it might be difficult to report this type of crime but by reporting the crime to the police they will be better-placed to help you and prevent further incidents.

You can report sextortion and any other form of intimate image abuse to the police online or by calling 101, if you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the textphone service on 18001 101.

Further support

Victim Support provide free and confidential support to anyone affected by crime and traumatic events, including sextortion and other forms of intimate image abuse. Victim Support are independent of the police and local authorities.

You can call the local Victim Support team in Sussex on 0808 168 9274. Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Outside of the Sussex team’s opening hours, you can call Supportline, for free, on 08 08 16 89 111. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Victim Support’s free live chat support service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also request support via

Useful resources

NCII: a free tool designed to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image (NCII) abuse. The tool works by generating a hash from your intimate image(s)/video(s). Stop Non-Consensual Intimate Image Abuse |

onlineonline abuse

Katy Croft • 20 September 2023

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