Online harassment & bullying

If you have been the subject of harassment, bullying or abuse online or through social media most websites provide an option for users to report to them to request removal of the 'content' - such as videos, pictures, comments or profiles - that might be upsetting.

Most websites, including social media sites, also have a set of rules - such as 'Terms of Use' - which they expect people using their site to obey. You should check if any of the rules have been broken as websites will only take content down if this is the case. You can find links to the various 'rules' below along with links that will help you report any content.

It is important to note that if a crime has been committed (such as the exploitation of a child, revenge pornography, fraud, hate crime etc) then this should be reported to the police to investigate.

To report a crime to Sussex Police you can either ring 101 (or 999 in an emergency) or fill out an online report here.

If you have been a victim of any crime there is various support out there to help you move on and recover from the impact of the crime. You can find support near you by putting in your postcode in the Safe:Space search bar above.

What constitutes a crime?

CSE is a form of child abuse in which the victim is often given something, such as food, money, drugs, alcohol or gifts in exchange for sexual activity with the abuser.

Fraud is when someone steals property, goods or money by tricking, or trying to trick you.

A hate crime occurs when a person is targeted because of hostility or prejudice towards their; disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity. It is important to note that a hate crime can also happen online.

  • Revenge Pornography

Revenge porn occurs when a person publishes,shares or discloses a private sexual photograph or film, without the consent of the person who appears in the photograph or film, intending to cause that person distress. It does not have to be published on the internet, it can be sent via text message or shown in person. 

Social Media

social mediaFacebook 

Facebook do not tolerate bullying or harassment, hate speech, fraud or spam. Within their community standards they will list the content that they will remove. They also give you tools of how you can control what you see. If you see something that you don't like, then you should select the report button.


YouTube does not condone content that promotes violence again anyone based on core characteristics including age and veteran status. If someone has left a comment on your video, you are able to delete and block that person. However, if you see something you don't like you can also report the channel, the playlist, and individual comments by clicking report or on the flag.


Instagram does not condone any encouragement or attack on anyone based on their core characteristics, as well as diseases. You can report anything in their built in reporting option.


Twitter does not tolerate harassment or hateful conduct on core characteristics as well as disease. They also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm based on these categories.Twitter explains their range of enforcement options which range from remove the offending tweet before they can tweet again to removing their account altogether. For any links or images that may be promoting or containing child sexual exploitation they will be removed without notice and reported direction to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited children. The accounts containing these will be permanently suspended. To report on twitter, you will need to select the report directly from that tweet or profile or by selecting report or clicking the flag sign.


Snapchat does not tolerate bullying or harassment, including contacting people from another account if you block them. They are also not tolerant of any content that discriminates based on the core characteristics as well as veteran status. You can report on Snapchat by pressing down on the snap (or chat), clicking options and then report.


Submitting content (in the status, profile photos or messages) that is illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, intimidating, harassing, hateful, racially, or ethnically offensive, or instigates or encourages conduct that would be illegal, or otherwise inappropriate violates Whatsapp Terms of Service. If a user is violating these terms, then they can be banned. You can send reports to WhatsApp, through the app by selecting settings and then 'contact us'.

As a parent

It is worth knowing the age limits on social media sites. Most are 13 years upwards with some asking for parental consent.

To increase your child's online security crime

  • Set their privacy settings to medium or high. Without updating their privacy settings, anyone can contact them and their profile information is visible. All social media sites will have different rules as to how they do this. You might have to hide their profile, as well as stopping other people from 'tagging' you
  • Explain to them that they should not share personal information, such as address, school, parents name etc, with people they do not know.
  • Children often share their passwords. Know your child's passwords and discuss that passwords are "secret" words and should not be shared with friends.
  • Children sometimes leave themselves signed in at friend's house on someone else's mobile device or computer. We suggest that you remind them to always be sure to log out so others don't have access to their information and settings.
  • If your child receives an unwanted friend invitation be sure to explain to them to ignore the request and also block this person from contacting again. Remind them of the dangers of having strangers as friends online.

Parental controls

You can also increase the parental controls on laptop/computers. This guide may be of use. This link will also take you through how to set these up on all devices. 

Child exploitation

If your child has experienced sexual or offensive chat that has made them feel uncomfortable or someone is trying to meet up with them, you can report this directly to the Child Expolitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP).