Experiencing an Online Attack? Here’s where to get help

Experiencing an online attack can be isolating and emotionally draining. Whether it happens to you or to another colleague, the Online Violence Response Hub and its partners are here to help! If you are experiencing violence online, here is a list of organizations and resources available to provide immediate support. 

For those needing emergency digital security assistance, Access Now offers 24/7 services in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Tagalog, Arabic, and Italian through their Digital Security Helpline. If your online accounts have been compromised or you are experiencing targeted online abuse and need technical support then Access Now’s experienced team can help. 

But it’s not just about emergency assistance. Rocio Calderon from Access Now’s office in Costa Rica says, “Access Now has different arms and we all work, somehow, to prevent and respond to online harassment. When we speak about gender harassment facilitated by tech, we work very hard in the preventative part for example: Providing online training, providing advice on how to deal with these situations, but we also recommend existing resources.” 

Another organization supporting journalists worldwide with issues of online abuse is The Committee to Protect Journalists.Their Emergencies Team provides  digital security assistance to media workers who are targeted online because of their work.  Journalists seeking emergency help should contact emergencies@cpj.org, or contact one of their regional teams to request assistance. The team also provides digital safety guidance (found on the Hub!) including specific resources for protecting against online attacks, including how to better protect against targeted online attacks.

Women, trans, and non-binary journalists looking for digital safety support as a result of online attacks should contact The International Women’s Media Foundation . Their Online Violence Program focuses on helping journalists increase their skills when it comes to better protecting against online abuse. Their digital security expert provides 1:1 digital safety consultations for those looking for emergency support as well as long-term guidance.   . 

The Coalition for Women in Journalism documents instances of online harassment and abuse against women journalists, and connects them with partner organizations that can provide help. Women experiencing online violence can report their case of abuse on their site, or through their app, JSafe.

And it’s not only about digital security support. Online abuse can also have an impact on a journalist’s mental health and there are a number of organisations that can provide assistance.  The Games and Online Harassment Hotline supports the gaming community, including journalists who cover gaming and tech. Through their text-based emotional support hotline, anybody  seeking assistance can find non-judgemental listening, survivor-based validation, and compassion, along with basic digital security response guidance. They can help with digital hygiene, doxxing prevention, guidance around impersonation/blackmail/call outs, referrals to resources, and referrals to other hotlines if needed. Support is confidential with the option to be fully anonymous. 

According to Jae Lin, who manages the hotline, “Games industry journalists and games content creators face a unique flavor of online harassment from the games industry and community. Our hotline agents have the specialized and cultural awareness of those games industry and community spaces, so we’re able to speak to and address those experiences in an informed and understanding way.” 

For Spanish-speaking journalists who are seeking psychological first aid and community-based support, Vita Activa is available to accompany journalists experiencing online harassment, stress, burnout, and anxiety. People requesting help can contact Vita Activa via email, WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram. Regarding their approach, their Executive Director, Dr. Luisa Ortiz shares, “Empathy is the most important value that one can bring to the fore when one thinks about online violence. Empathic responses to the person who is receiving the violence and believing the person who is sharing their experiences with you is fundamental.”Whether you are a journalist who is a person of color, a woman, or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, online harassment shouldn’t be part of your job description.

The Online Violence Response Hub is here to support you. You can visit our resources page for more information on how to stay safe online, and more information on the Online Violence Response Hub here.