Online violence can have real consequences. Women media workers report that online harassment has a detrimental affect on their health and also prevents them from doing their jobs effectively. Reaching out and helping them access support and assistance can be an important step toward helping journalists who are targeted online.
If you do know someone who needs support dealing with online harassment, the following guidance may help.
If possible, it is a good idea to reach out to the person to acknowledge the abuse they have received and to offer support should they need it. PEN America has a detailed guide on best practices for contacting people targeted by online harassers.
There are a number of organizations that offer psychological support and resources for journalists facing online violence. Check with the person to be sure that they are comfortable with you sending them details and resources. If they are in the middle of a targeted attack, they may not feel able or ready to deal with new information. Organizations and resources can be found below.
Support for Journalists Facing Online Violence
The following organisations are able to help journalists with psychosocial support, including covering the costs of a therapist.
Games and Online Harassment Hotline
This free text-message based, confidential, emotional support hotline is available only in the USA. It is open to all journalists and is currently available every day of the week.
The International Women’s Media Foundation
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is a non-profit working to support women journalists. The organization offers trauma support for women journalists both in the US and internationally. The IWMF offers the following:
The IWMF emergency fund covers the cost of psychological care for women journalists around the world who have been targeted because of their work.
The United States Journalism Emergency Fund
The United States Journalism Emergency Fund is for US journalists who are targeted as a direct result of their work.
The Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund
The Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund provides assistance for Black journalists facing financial hardship who are unable to pay for the mental health support they need.
The Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an American independent non-governmental organisation. It can help journalists with the cost of covering trauma support. Apply directly via the emergency email address or via the CPJ representative in your region.
The Rory Peck Trust
The Rory Peck Trust is an international NGO that supports freelance journalists and their families worldwide. The organization has a fund that can cover trauma support resulting from a journalist’s work.
A helpline offering psychosocial support for those suffering from online abuse. Available in Spanish and English.
Share With Your Network
Below are additional resources that may be helpful for journalists targeted by online abusers.
International Press Institute and the Dart Centre
Video tutorials with coping strategies for dealing with online abuse and guidance for creating a self-care plan.
An informative guide on how to practice self care, with links to organizations that can provide mental health support in the United States.
An accessible step-by-step guide to help journalists manage wellbeing issues as a direct result of online violence.
Guidance from the Dart Centre on dealing with online harassment, including how to respond to trolls.
Without My Consent
Advice on what to do if you are facing online violence for a US audience.