The sextortion of boys and young men is being increasingly reported - often targeted through dating apps, social media, gaming or pornography sites.

Criminals may use a fake identity to befriend a child or young person online. Sextortion can be committed by individuals, but organised crime gangs are usually behind it.

The term sextortion was created to combine the words ‘sexual’ and ‘extortion’ and can also be referred to as sexual extortion or sexually coerced extortion.

  • The video below, courtesy of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, shows a short example of what a sextortion conversation could look like.

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    If you are a young person who has been a victim, or is currently experiencing sextortion, the Internet Watch Foundation's Sexually Coerced Extortion or 'Sextortion' help and support page has lots of information to help you.

    If you don’t have a trusted adult you can talk to, and you’re under 18, you can speak to Childline for free by email, phone or in a 1-2-1 chat with a counsellor.

    Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation have also got the 'Report Remove' tool which is designed for you to confidentially report sexual images and videos of yourself that have been posted online. By using the tool, you will be supported in getting the images/videos removed from the internet.

  • If you are a parent or carer and you want to find out more about sextortion, the Digital Safety Team at West Sussex County Council has created a short parent guide that explains what sextortion is, what to do if your child is a victim, how and where to report to and where to find support.

    There is also a short video designed by the Digital Safety Team, which goes into more detail about sextortion and how it affects children and young people within West Sussex.

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    If a child or young person you know is experiencing sextortion, you can report it to Sussex Police by:

    • phoning 101 (use the textphone service on 18001 101 if you have a hearing or speech impairment)
    • reporting it online through the Sussex Police report a crime form.

    Victims under the age of 18 who have experienced any online sexual abuse or are worried about the way someone has been communicating with them online, should also report to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website’s Safety Centre.

  • In West Sussex the number of children and young people reporting that they have been a victim of sextortion has increased and the age of victims is getting younger.

    Children are being contacted via social media and gaming platforms and the financial loss for an individual can vary, but is commonly between £100 to £500. Payment to the perpetrator is most likely paid via PayPal or bank transfer.

    Sextortion offences disproportionately impact on male victims in both children and adults.

    Working with someone who has been sextorted

    If you are working with a child or young person who has been sextorted, or someone comes to you disclosing that they are a victim, don’t panic, there is plenty of help and support available.

    Firstly, check whether the victim has made any payment yet. If they haven’t, tell them not to pay.

    Make sure you save any evidence. This can be done by taking screenshots of the messages and collecting URL links to where the information is being shared online; if they are sharing the images/video already.

    Report it through the social media channel it happened on, for example, Facebook or Instagram. Most social media sites have rules against sharing intimate content without consent. You should be able to get the material removed.

    Make sure the victim blocks all communication with the person targeting them.


    Below are a list of resources which are there to support you with sextortion awareness, support and reporting: