Social media has made it very easy for us to communicate quickly and easily with family, friends and acquaintances, as well as sharing experiences and letting others know of our opinions and beliefs. These opinions and beliefs may be about world events or local affairs, politics or religion, interests, affiliations, organisations, products, people and a wide variety of other topics. Our conversations and comments can be closely targeted or widely broadcast to the point that depending on the subject, they can go viral.
Unfortunately, social media is also widely used by abusers. Many perpetrators ‘hide’ behind the fact that they may not be able to be readily identified, saying things that they wouldn’t consider saying face-to-face, which could be regarded as cowardly.
Online abuse takes several forms, and victims are not confined to public figures. They can do any job, be of any age, gender, sexual orientation or social or ethnic background, and live anywhere.