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The Impact of Online Abuse: Hearing the Victims’ Voice

Read the News Story.

As the Online Safety Bill makes its way through Parliament, it is extremely important that victims experiences are considered. The Victims’ Commissioner undertook this research to better understand the experiences of victims of online abuse as it is experienced by people every day. Consequently, this research aims to highlight and help to understand the issues that victims of online abuse think the Online Safety Bill should be addressing.

This report draws from 534 responses to a request for information about people’s experiences of a range of online abuses, conducted between January and February 2022. We asked people to tell us about their experience of online abuse, if they reported the abuse to anyone and if they did we asked about their experience of that process. We also asked why people chose not to report, how they managed to cope with the abuse and what impact the abuse has had on them.

The Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said:

“Our research shows clearly that online crime can be deeply impactful. The more than 500 people who responded to our survey made clear that online abuse is highly intrusive and can have a traumatising impact, instilling fear, undermining self-esteem and, with the worst and most frequently committed crimes, filling the victim with so much guilt and shame that they sometimes withdraw from all social interaction.”