Sexually coerced extortion or ‘sextortion' is a type of blackmail where someone tries to use intimate, naked or sexual photos or videos of you to make you do things you don't want to do. Sometimes, these photos or videos are taken without your knowledge, and the person blackmailing you uses them to force you to pay money or do something against your will.
Criminals often target people who use dating apps, social media platforms, webcam/live streaming sites or websites related to pornography. They might pretend to be someone else online and become friends with you. Later, they might threaten to share pictures or videos with your family and friends.
Remember, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this, it's important to know that the victims of 'sextortion' are never to blame. The criminals who try to extort money or make victims do things they don't want to do are the ones at fault.
We understand it may be a very distressing and anxious time for you.
Don’t blame yourself or your child – these schemes are very convincing and sophisticated, and sadly are becoming more and more common. You are not alone in experiencing this.
Choose the option below that best describes you for advice and support.
Where technology connects us in various ways, it's important to be aware not only of the huge benefits but also the possible risks associated with online interactions. One such threat is sexually coerced extortion or 'sextortion' - a serious form of blackmail that involves the exploitation of nude, explicit or sensitive images or videos to coerce victims into unwanted actions such as sharing further explicit imagery or paying to prevent further sharing. Sextortion is a distressing crime that can have severe emotional and psychological consequences.
This IWF resource aims to provide an understanding of sextortion, including its definition, common tactics employed by criminals, and practical steps to take if you find yourself or your child victimised by this distressing crime.
Sextortion is a type of blackmail in which an individual manipulates or threatens to distribute explicit or intimate material (such as explicit sexual images or videos) of the victim unless certain demands are met.
Criminals often target individuals through online platforms, social media, or dating apps. They may establish trust and rapport, leading victims to share intimate content willingly or unknowingly through webcam sessions or private messages.
Sextortion can cause significant emotional distress, feelings of shame, fear, and anxiety. It's crucial to remember that victims are never at fault, and support is available to help cope with the aftermath.
It's important to note that every child may react differently when being sexually extorted, and the signs may vary depending on their personality, age, and other factors. However, here are some potential changes in behaviour that could indicate a child is being sexually extorted.
It's important to remember that these behavioural changes could indicate various issues, not just sextortion. If you notice any significant and persistent changes in a child's behaviour, it is crucial to approach the situation with sensitivity, open communication and seek professional help if necessary.
If a child is in immediate danger, call 999 or the police emergency phone number in your country.
Our TALK checklist offers parents/carers advice on how to have useful conversations with your child.
Gurls Out Loud offers simple guidance for young people on what to do if they’re approached for nudes online.
Advice from the Met Police on what sextortion is and what to do if you've been targeted.
Get Safe Online offers advice if you’ve been a victim of blackmail or online grooming and online safety guidance.
CEOP Education provides a variety of guidance for children, parents/carers and professionals working with young people.
A helpful guide from the National Cyber Security Centre on how to protect yourself from sextortion phishing scams.
The Revenge Porn Helpline supports adults (aged 18+) experiencing intimate image abuse, also known as revenge porn.
StopNCII.org helps people have non-consensual intimate images (nudes, explicit images etc.) removed from the internet.
The Marie Collins Foundation offers free support for victims and survivors of sexual abuse. Specialist staff can offer someone to talk to, support and practical advice.
Samaritans offer a non-judgemental person to talk to. Call, email or live chat with them anytime. Call free on 116 123.
Victim Support is an independent charity dedicated to supporting victims of crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales.
Are you, or is a young person you know, not coping with life? PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide offers a 24/7 helpline to speak with an understanding and non-judgemental person. Call free on 0800 068 41 41.
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer support for people over the age of 15 who are having suicidal thoughts or feelings. Open from 5pm to midnight every day of the year: 0800 58 58 58
Hub of Hope offers a database of mental health support organisations for people experiencing mental and emotional distress.