Cyber abuse and online harassment
Experiencing online abuse can have a devastating impact on your wellbeing and sense of safety, and should be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, online harassment is a common experience of women in government and leadership positions.
Some examples of cyber abuse include:
- Seriously offensive and shocking material
- Targeted and persistent personal attacks
- Posting someone’s personal information online without their consent
- Threatening violence
While it can be a distressing experience to receive online harassment or ‘trolling’, navigating these difficulties with a set of guidelines will help protect your profile and integrity on social media.
If you receive online harassment:
- Take a breath. Receiving online harassment can be anxiety-inducing and distressing. Take a moment to be calm while reading any negative online commentary.
- Use the hide/report functions. Most social media platforms allow you to hide or report users who are abusive.
- Ignore, scan or move on.
- Set time limits. Limiting your screen time while campaigning will help you avoid online burnout.
- Remember it perfectly appropriate not to respond. On emotive issues, facts may never be enough to change hearts or minds.
- Check your answers before posting. If you decide to respond, keep it appropriate to your tone and your voice. Avoid a negative combative dialogue.
- Have someone else, such as a campaign team member or friend, monitor your social media, to avoid any personal attacks that may be detrimental to your wellbeing.
What to do if you feel unsafe
Contact your local police if you receive abusive or threatening messages to you, your family or your friends, and are concerned for your safety. If you feel immediately threatened or unsafe, call Triple 0 (000).