Netsafe’s role under the Harmful Digital Communications Act (HDCA) is to assist with reports of digital communications. We are not an enforcement agency, but do have a high success rate in helping people experiencing online harm

Harmful digital communications includes online bullying, abuse and harassment, and when someone has put something online that: 

  • Tries to get someone to hurt themselves 
  • Shares intimate images without consent (like revenge porn)
  • Encourages other people to send harmful messages to someone 
  • Most people would think is very offensive 
  • Shares someone’s sensitive private information without their permission 
  • Makes a false allegation about someone
  • Shares confidential information about someone without their permission
  • Puts someone down because of their colour, race, ethnic or national origins, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability 
  • Is indecent or obscene 
  • Threatens to hurt someone or damage their property 
  • Other content that is causing harm

What happens when you make a report to Netsafe about a harmful digital communication? 

Once you have made a report to Netsafe our team may be in contact to request further information including screenshots of the content you are reporting. We will review the content the report is about and consider the information you have provided.

Once we have assessed your report we will let you know what we are able to do and not able to do, so you have a clear understanding about how we can assist.

If we believe the issue may fall within the remit of the Harmful Digital Communication Act (HDCA), we will provide some options available to you that could help resolve your report. We can still provide recommendations even if a case does not fall within the remit of the Act.

Netsafe will not do anything without your consent.  If we are unable to assist you, we can offer advice about the other options available to you.

 If you can always save copies of content which is upsetting you by recording URLs or taking screenshots. You can read our advice about how to keep copies of digital content.

FAQS 

How can I make a report to Nesafe? We are open from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and from 9am-5pm weekends and public holidays. To make a report you can:

Will Netsafe report my issue to the Police? If you feel a crime has been committed, please contact the Police. If your issue involves digital communications, you can contact Netsafe as we may be able to help you in addition to the Police.

If I make a report, but change my mind what will happen? It is your report, if you decide you do not wish to proceed let us know and we can close it. If you change your mind, it can always be reopened.  

Do you contact the person involved in my report? We may ask that you let us contact the other people involved to see what steps they are prepared to take as a way to resolve your report. For example to see if they will remove content or stop any harmful behaviour. We will always obtain your consent before we do this.

What if I want to make a report about someone who has shared my nude images, do I have to send you them? No, you do not need to send the content to us. We will ask you to explain what has happened, but we will not ask for copies. It is useful for you to screenshot any account names that have shared your images and if possible any messages of the threats to share your images. You can read more about imaged based abuse on our website.

Confidentiality

Netsafe protects the confidentiality of information obtained in the course of our service. If you have questions about this, you can ask us for more information or read Netsafe’s full Confidentiality and Information Sharing Policy is available online.

More information