01702 831170



01702 831170



Online Harassment

Online Harassment can take form in a number of ways. On the Crown Prosecution's (CPS) online crime page (https://www.cps.gov.uk/cyber-online-crime), forms of online Harassment relevant to education providers are listed. Offences include acts such as online threats, disclosure of private sexual images without consent, grooming, stalking online and also virtual mobbing, whereby a number of individuals use social media or messaging services to harass another individual in high volume.

There is a range of guides and resources available for support on cyberbullying, some of which are listed below.

Social media and new technologies can be used as tools by perpetrators of domestic violence. Some women and LGBT people experiencing domestic violence offline are also abused, harassed and stalked online by their partners or ex-partners.

  • Online abuse covers a wide range of behaviours and technologies. Abuse happens when someone acts in a way that causes harm and distress to others.

Cyber / online crime

  1. cyber-dependent crimes - which can only be committed through the use of online devices and where the devices are both the tool to commit the crime and the target of the crime, and
  2. cyber-enabled crimes - traditional crimes which can be increased in scale by using computers.

These crimes take on a number of different formats - from hacking and use of the dark web to trolling on social media and phishing or identity thefts. The aims of such activities may be to commit sexual offences such as grooming or sharing indecent images, to control or disrupt computer systems, or steal money, information or data.

  • Phishing is a fraudulent attempt, usually made through email, to steal your personal information.
  • The dark web is used by criminals to trade illegal items online including drugs and firearms.


  • Hacking is the unauthorised use of or access into computers or networks by using security vulnerabilities or bypassing usual security steps to gain access. Criminals may hack systems or networks to steal money or information or simply to disrupt businesses.
  • Malicious software - or malware - can be spread between computers and interfere with the operations of computers. It can be destructive, causing system crashes or deleting files, or used to steal personal data. Viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and ransomware are all types of malware.
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDOS) attacks are where more than one, and often thousands, of unique IP addresses are used to flood an internet server with so many requests that they are unable to respond quickly enough. This can cause a server to become overloaded and freeze or crash, making websites and web-based services unavailable.
  • The dark web is made up of a number of untraceable online websites. Specific software and search engines must be used to access the websites.

Social media offences:

  • Trolling is a form of baiting online which involves sending abusive and hurtful comments across all social media platforms. This can be prosecuted under the Malicious Communication Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003.
  • Online threats could take many forms including threats to kill, harm or to commit an offence against a person, group of people or organisation.
  • Disclosure of private sexual images without consent – so called "revenge porn" is a broad term covering a range of activity usually involving an ex-partner, uploading intimate sexual images of the victim to the internet, to cause the victim humiliation or embarrassment. It is a criminal offence to re-tweet or forward without consent, a private sexual photograph or film, if the purpose was to cause distress to the individual depicted.
  • Online Harassment can include repeated attempts to impose unwanted communications or contact in a manner that could be expected to cause distress or fear.
  • Grooming refers to the actions of an individual who builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.
  • Stalking online is a form of Harassment that can involve persistent and frequent unwanted contact or interference in someone's life
  • Virtual mobbing takes place when a number of individuals use social media or messaging to make comments to or about another individual, usually because they are opposed to that person's opinions. The volume of messages may amount to a campaign of Harassment.

Cyber-enabled fraud

  • Fraudsters use the internet to gain sensitive personal information through phishing attempts. Often criminals pretend to be a company and trick a victim into using a malicious website or installing malware on their device. A phishing attempt can be sent to a range of 'targets' at the same time.
  • This can lead to identity theft - criminals gathering enough information about a victim to take their identity and commit fraud. Personal details can be used to obtain documents such as passports or driving licences, open bank accounts or credit card accounts, or take over existing bank accounts.
  • Criminals can also use the internet to carry out intellectual property fraud - creating counterfeit goods to sell online, either billed as genuine or clearly fake, or setting up and running websites purporting to be genuine retail outlets. Intellectual property fraud includes streaming content owned by someone else online, for example a new cinema release or live sports matches.

Domestic Abuse

We define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common, and in the vast majority of cases, it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.

  •  Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Financial or economic abuse
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Online or digital abuse

If someone is experiencing domestic violence, he or she can get immediate information and support and, in an emergency,, always call the police by phoning 999: