Advice for parents or carers of children who are being sexually extorted or ‘sextorted’

Sextortion happens when an individual manipulates, coerces, or threatens a child into providing sexually explicit images or videos, and then uses these materials to extort or exploit them further. Discovering that your child has fallen victim to such a distressing crime can be devastating, but it's crucial to respond swiftly, empathetically, and effectively.

Our analysts at the IWF are receiving increasing reports of this type of crime. Sometimes the blackmailer shows the victim a compilation of images which includes the original nude or intimate image which was first shared, plus the victim’s social media accounts, friends and family lists, as well as falsely accusing the victim of crimes that they haven’t committed.

This guide aims to empower parents by providing essential steps and insights on how to handle the traumatic situation of child sextortion. By understanding the nature of the crime and taking prompt action, you can support your child and work towards mitigating the potential harm caused.

Remember, your child needs your unwavering support and guidance during this challenging time.

IWF's TALK campaign offers advice on how to talk to your children about some of the dangers of online life

Recommended steps if your child has been a victim of sextortion or online blackmail

  1. Do not blame your child. Your child is not to blame. The criminals behind the blackmail are at fault and use very sophisticated means to trick and convince young people.
  2. Don’t pay or engage further with the person asking for money.
  3. Don’t delete the images, videos or messages if you still have them. They could be useful for the police, and we may be able to stop them being spread further online - see Report Remove.
  4. Contact the police. You can make a report online here. It’s important that law enforcement is aware of what’s happening.
  5. Support your child without blaming them. Engaging in a peaceful and honest conversation is a helpful approach for you and your child to understand what's happening in a supportive manner. Although these kinds of discussions can be overwhelming, it's important to let your child know that you're asking questions because you care about their well-being and want to help. Reassure your child that your intention is not to punish them – sometimes children hesitate to share their concerns because they worry their internet access or device will be taken away. You can get support, advice and help for yourself from the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or advice from the police here.
  6. If your child still has copies of the images, videos, or links to the website the images are on, they can report them to the IWF using Report Remove. This is an online tool provided by the IWF and Childline/NSPCC which allows young people to report an image or video shared online, to see if it's possible to get it taken down. The young person is kept informed at every stage of their report and provided with further support if needed. The child must upload their images themselves but will be supported by a Childline counsellor. They will help your child to deal with the situation. You child is also welcome to speak to a counsellor about how they feel, whether online via 1-2-1 chat and Childline email, or via the free confidential helpline on 0800 1111.
  7. We recommend stopping all communication with anyone who is potentially blackmailing, threatening or sexually extorting your child. If they have been communicating on an app, there should be in-built tools to block and report the user. Report Harmful Content offers helpful advice.
  8. You can help by speaking with the designated safeguarding lead at your child’s school – if your child agrees. Schools can keep an eye on the situation and help stop images or videos from being shared. They can also support any other children who've been affected or have a counselling service children can self-refer to.

Sextortion advice for parents & carers


Our TALK checklist offers parents, carers and guardians advice on how to have useful conversations with your child.

Uk Safer Internet Centre Logo

The UK Safer Internet Centre provides helpful advice to help children and young people stay safe online and specific guides for parents and carers

CEOP Logo - Education from the National Crime Agency

CEOP Education provides a variety of guidance for children, parents/carers and professionals working with young people.

Childline Logo

Childnet offers helpful advice and guidance on how to stay safe online as well as info on exploitation, coercion and threats.


NSPCC offers advice for parents on how to keep their children safe from online and in-person abuse and a helpline if you're concerned about a child’s safety or wellbeing. 

Childrens Commissioner Logo

The Children's Commissioner has a hub of information on a variety of topics including a guide for parents on talking to your child about online sexual harassment

Parents Protect logo

Parents Protect provides advice and support to help parents and carers protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Internet Matters logo

Internet Matters helps parents keep their children safe online with information and advice including practical steps to set up parental controls

Report Harmful Content logo

Report Harmful Content can help you to report harmful content online by providing up-to-date information on community standards and links to the reporting facilities across multiple platforms.

Victim Support logo

Victim Support is an independent charity dedicated to supporting victims of crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales.

Marie Collins Foundation logo

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.


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