Information Services

Resources Against Online Gender-Based Violence

How to collect evidence, reporting and blocking, seeking support, exploring free legal advice and resources for further action to equip our community with tools to combat online harassment and support survivors.

The Digital Skills Team has compiled a list of resources for awareness and support for gendered abuse and harassment online and the ways in which we can all do our part to make the internet safer for all genders. This resource list can be read alongside the #NoExcuse campaign delivered collaboratively by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, the University of Edinburgh, and the Edinburgh University Sports Union to tackle gender-based violence within the University community; and the other University resources and support services on gender-based violence.

It is also important to remember that if you have been targeted by online violence, it is not your fault.

Recognise Online GBV 

Learn more about gendered abuse and harassment online and the ways in which we can all do our part to make the internet safer for all genders. 

  • Learn more about the University’s work on gender-based violence. You can read more about the University’s Equally Safe Team, Report and Support services and emergency support, and contacting the Equally Safe Team.

Our Work on Gender-based Violence

Digital Abuse and Revenge Porn – Report+Support

  • The Online Harassment Field Manual by PEN America offers a comprehensive glossary of terms relating to online harassment and misconduct.

The Online Harassment Field Manual 

  • Refuge, a specialist domestic abuse organisation in the UK, has put together a list of questions to help you identify tech abuse.

Secure Your Tech 

  • Feminist Frequency provides a comprehensive guide about how to keep yourself safe from individuals, loosely organized groups and cybermobs online.

Speak Up and Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself from Online Harassment 

  • The LGBTQ+ Guide to Online Safety by vpnMentor offers a range of guidance for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies, from finding community online to navigating cyberbullying on social media.

The LGBTQ+ Guide to Online Safety 

  • Police Scotland’s Guidance on Sextortion, what to do if you’re a victim, and their Self-help Guide.

Sextortion Sextortion: A Self-help Guide

  • National Crime Agency’s Sextortion Guidance.

Financially Motivated Sexual Extortion (Sextortion) 

  • Online and Digital Abuse Guidance by Women’s Aid.

Online and Digital Abuse

  • Match.com provide guidance to ensure you stay safe online throughout your dating journey. Be sure to have a look at the following resources if you’re on Tinder, Match.com or any other website apps or websites.

Online Dating Safety for Students

How to Stay Safe on Online Dating Sites?

How to Spot a Scammer?  

Report + Block 

  • Platform-specific reporting guidance.

Facebook – Report Something

Google – report abuse or legal issue

Instagram – How to Report Things

X (formerly Twitter) – Report violations

YouTube – Get help as a YouTube user

YouTube – Creator Safety Centre

  • The University’s Report + Support platform, allows both anonymous and named reporting of distressing situations related to sexual violence, harassment, sextortion, domestic abuse and stalking (as well as racism and discrimination). It is recommended you access the platform via VPN from off-campus networks where possible. While reporting an incident through the Report and Support platform does not mean a complaint or conduct investigation is automatically instigated, support staff can discuss incidents further if you make a report by name.

Report + Support

  • University of Edinburgh Complaints Procedure webpage outlines the formal procedure for filing a complaint at the University when frontline resolutions have failed.

University of Edinburgh Complaints Procedure 

  • Students’ Association Advice Place Guidance on Complaints and Conduct for advice on what kind of behaviour is considered misconduct and how to make a complaint to the University if your digital safety has been compromised.

Advice Place Guidance on Complaints and Conduct 

  • Report Harmful Content offers wide-ranging resources on numerous issues relating to online harms, including general advice on what to remember when reporting to social media and more targeted guidance addressing specific concerns. Specific harms addressed include online abuse, bullying and harassment, threats, impersonation, and various types of upsetting content.

We’re here to help everyone report harmful content online

Harmful Content Advice

  • If someone is threatening to share intimate images of you or someone you know, StopNCII.org, run by the National Revenge Porn Helpline, can help you digitally hash images, preventing them from being shared online.

Stop Non-Consensual Intimate Image Abuse

Seek Support in UoE

  • We know that digital safety breaches can greatly impact mental health and wellbeing. You can access the University’s specialist support for a variety of safety concerns, both online and off.

Equally Safe Team

Report + Support

Student Counselling Services

Staff Counselling Services

Wellbeing Services 

Seek Support outside UoE

  • We also work with the Revenge Porn Helpline, a UK-based service dedicated to supporting all adults who have been the victim of intimate image abuse. This site provides free, non-judgemental and confidential advice and support, including advice on laws and legislation, emotional support and legal and informative advice services, via email and phone. 

Revenge Porn Helpline – 0345 6000 459

Revenge Porn Helpline: Support for victims of intimate image abuse in Scotland

Gather evidence 

Even if you do not want to approach the police, taking a simple screenshot and gathering evidence of the abuse can supplement any report made to the University or other support bodies.

Moreover, recording abuse can support you to track the perpetrator’s behaviour, understand if the abuse is escalating, and will help you if you decide to change your mind about reporting the abuse. 

  • Glitch, an award-winning UK charity working to end online abuse, also has detailed guidance on documenting evidence of online abuse, alongside a form to document online abuse.

Documenting Online Abuse

Documenting Online Abuse Form

  • Some more information on gathering and preserving evidence of abuse can be found in the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre’s guidance on revenge porn.

Gathering/Preserving Evidence in “Revenge porn”: Image-based Sexual Abuse

  • Australian Government’s eSafety Commissioner’s website has detailed guidance on gathering evidence of tech abuse. While this page links to further resources that are not applicable to the UK, it still puts together valuable information about what to keep in mind while gathering evidence.

Collecting Evidence Safely

Explore Free Legal Advice 

Further support and guidance can also be sought from organisations in Scotland supporting victims with the legal system.

  • The Scottish Women’s Rights Center provides legal guidance to all women (over the age of 16) living in Scotland, who have been affected by gender-based violence, including forms of online gender-based violence.

Helpline 

  • Victim Support Scotland can support you with understanding your rights as a victim, and the practicalities of navigating the criminal justice system.

Support for Victims of Crime 

Want to do more? 

  • Staff members should review the University’s guidelines for supporting students who experience gender-based violence. The University offers access to training courses on Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence; Consent Matters: Boundaries, Respect and Positive Intervention; Tackling Harassment; and guidelines for staff outlining key steps to take on disclosure.

Supporting Students who Report Gender-based Violence Consent Matters and Tackling Harassment

  • Further resources and training on consent for both staff and students can be found at the Edinburgh University Student Association webpage.

Understanding Consent and Creating Change 

  • The Tech Policy Design Lab has put together various strategies to address online gender-based violence in your organisation, community and to advocate for change on a wider level.

Online Gender-based Violence: Strategies for Change 

  • The Fix the Glitch 2.0 Toolkit includes an easy guide to initiate conversations around ending online GBV in your communities and networks.

Fix the Glitch Toolkit 2.0 Helping to End Online Gender Based Violence for Black Women 

  • The Youth Guide to End Online Gender-based Violence by UN-Women is a holistic resource covering an overview of the online opposition to gender equality, forms and consequences of online GBV, report resources and tips, recommendations for stakeholders, boys and men as allies in preventing online GBV, and feminist and gender-transformative technologies.

Toolkit: The Youth Guide to End Online Gender-based Violence 

By leveraging these resources, we can collectively contribute to fostering a secure and inclusive environment here at the University. Remember, you are not alone, and help is just a click or call away. 

 

 

© Shivani Rao, University of Edinburgh, 2024, CC BY-SA 4.0, unless otherwise indicated. The Digital Safety, Wellbeing and Citizenship resource pages are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike licence, unless otherwise indicated.  For licence permissions of linked resources outwith the university, please check the host website.