Online Abuse and Image Based Abuse | Bolt Burdon Kemp Online Abuse and Image Based Abuse | Bolt Burdon Kemp

Find your Lawyer

Free call back
Contact us
Round the clock support
Won't shy away from difficult cases
Committed to swiftly progressing claims
Abuse Claims

Online Abuse and Image Based Abuse

Online abuse is on the increase. So what is it, what support is available, and how can we help you get justice?

Contact us for an informal chat with one of our legal experts, no strings attached
Get in touch

What is Online Abuse and Image Based Abuse?

All aspects of our lives are increasingly lived online, through our phones, tablets and laptops. This allows us to stay in touch with friends and family, and communicate across the world in ways that we could never have before.

However, it has also meant that the online world has created many more opportunities and routes to abuse.

Online and image-based abuse can refer to the sharing of materials, including text, images or videos. This could happen online or offline. The sharing of material can be via electronic means or physical copies and it may happen with or without a victim’s knowledge.

What are some examples of online and image-based abuse?

Some examples of online and imaged based abuse through the use of technology include:

Grooming and sexual exploitation

Grooming and sexual exploitation can take place online.

It might happen where someone is not who they say they are. It will often take place over time while the groomer builds your trust.

It might happen via photo sharing apps, gaming sites, chatrooms and social media platforms.

Grooming and sexual exploitation can be difficult to identify, because the groomer is unlikely to be clear about what they want in the first instance and so this may lead to other types of online abuse; for example they might ask you for sexual photos, or to perform on camera.

Revenge porn

Image-based sexual abuse, commonly referred to as ‘revenge porn’ refers to the sharing or distribution of images or videos, without your consent, intending to cause distress or humiliation.

Bolt Burdon Kemp has acted in a number of cases relating to revenge porn, including where a former partner sent private sexual images of our client to members of her family. Visit our page to find out how we can help.


“Sexting” is the creating and sharing of sexual messages or images via mobile phones. It is a growing trend amongst young people.

Bolt Burdon Kemp is the first law firm to have won a case for compensation in relation to psychological harm from sexting in the High Court.

The case concerned a child who was manipulated by the deputy head teacher of her school into sending sexual images of herself to him i.e., sexting.

Compensation of £25,000 was awarded by the Court to the child for the manipulation of the teacher into sharing the sexual images and for the psychological harm that she suffered when the images were discovered.

Visit our page to find out how we can help with abuse relating to sexting.


Cyberflashing is the sharing of indecent images to someone’s phone or electronic device, without their permission.

It has become an increasing problem in recent years, with smartphones often having the ability to share and receive images from other devices automatically without the need to ask for permission.

Cyberflashing can happen online or in person to a person’s mobile via Bluetooth, Airdrop or through using Wi-Fi. It frequently takes place on public transport.


Sextortion is a form of online blackmail, that is, extorting money or sexual favours, by threatening that your sexual activity will be revealed. Examples of such threats include the threat that a sexual video of you or a sexual image of you will be shared.

In order to prevent the sharing, a victim then might be forced into take off their clothes on camera, to perform sexual acts, or be required to pay money including cryptocurrency to avoid the perpetrator sharing the video or images.

Sextortion usually occurs online and there have been instances of sextortion via dating apps and social media.


Cyberbullying is bullying which takes place online. It might include threats, harassment, and might be public or through direct messaging. It might be done by one person or you may be targeted by lots of people.  Most young people will experience this at some time.

You can often report this directly to apps or to social media platforms.

Why choose Bolt Burdon Kemp?

Online abuse specialist solicitors

Bolt Burdon Kemp’s specialist abuse solicitors are experienced in securing compensation for those who have experienced online and image-based sexual abuse. We successfully represented the first person to have been awarded compensation in England and Wales for their claim relating to sexting, the principles of which apply to image-based sexual abuse. We want to get justice for you.

Personal, bespoke service

We know money doesn’t make up for what happened, but it can help you to move on and heal. We will always seek to secure compensation that allows you to have any private counselling or treatment that you need.

We offer a personal service, so you can choose whether your solicitor is male or female and you can contact them at any time. We will also assess your potential compensation claim for free, and work with you to fund any action you decide to take.

Therapy & support services

We can introduce you to charities and professional therapists who will provide you with support through the legal process, and advisers to talk you through investing your compensation.

We understand exactly how difficult it can be to talk about extremely traumatising experiences. You can be sure that we will work tirelessly to secure compensation for you, so you can try to move on with your life.

Highly Recommended

We are one of the leading adult and child abuse law firms, having won cases in both the Court of Appeal and House of Lords which have changed the law, making it easier for many to claim compensation.

Coverage worldwide

We represent clients anywhere in the world who have been abused in England and Wales or those abused abroad where there is a connection to England or Wales.

Bolt Burdon Kemp sets precedent by obtaining damages for the exchange of indecent images

In the first case of its kind, compensation has been awarded to a client who was encouraged by an employee of her school to send him sexually explicit messages.

William Whillock, the vice principal and child protection officer at The New School, befriended the then vulnerable girl whilst she was a pupil at the school. Our client looked up to him as a father figure, often visiting him in his office at his request, to chat through her problems.

It was this vulnerability that meant Whillock was able to manipulate our client telling her he could call him whenever she wanted on his personal mobile phone.

Read Story

How it works

Having gained some insight into who we are and what we do, find out about the compensation claims process, and what happens when you first contact us.

Learn more

Our Insights

Embracing apologies: A call for law reform

The law on apologies in civil cases could soon be reformed offering a vital step forward for survivors of negligence, abuse or personal injury. The…

By Gurleen Arora
Deputy headteacher barred from teaching for life after raping girl

A primary school deputy headteacher has been barred from teaching after she was jailed for child sexual abuse offences. Julie Morris, 46, the safeguarding lead…

By Raphael Amyrotos
Number of alleged sexual abuse incidents at Youth Offenders’ Institutions revealed

At least 40 incidents of alleged sexual abuse inside Young Offenders’ Institutions (“YOIs”) have been referred to police, it has been revealed, between November 2019…

By Hayyin Fan
Witness appeal – Abuse at 16th St Denys Cub Scout Group

I represent a client who has instructed me that he was subjected to abuse by one of his scout leaders, Robert Desmond Barclay Harris in…

By Hayyin Fan
Read all posts

Some of Our Accreditations

See more of our accreditations

We’re here to help you.

Want to talk to one of our experienced lawyers? We can call when it suits you for a no-obligation, strictly confidential chat.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser.

This site (and many others) provides a limited experience on unsupported browsers and not all functionality will work correctly or look its best.