Image Sharing – Online Sexual Coercion and Extortion


Type of Resource


Publication Date

June 26, 2023


Harmful or inappropriate content  / Online Blackmail/ Online Bullying  / Online Grooming/ Sharing nudes and semi-nudes
Online sexual coercion and extortion is a form of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse. In the past we have heard terms like ‘sextortion’ but this term does not accurately describe the issue. Sexual coercion and extortion can happen to adults, but the impact is much more damaging for children.

How does it happen?

Sexual Coercion and Extortion Example:

Avoiding the trap of ‘just one more image’

We know from case studies that perpetrators will often ask for one more image for the abuse to stop. But this is a continuation of the abuse and can often spiral, making the situation worse.

What you need to know

Educating children and young people on this issue is the best way to protect them from harm. It’s likely that this will not happen to the children in your care but in cases where it does happen the situation can spiral out of control and have serious consequences for the children who are being victimised.

What you can do

Children and young people should understand that they should ALWAYS seek help or support from trusted adults in their life. Reassurance of support rather than being blamed or shamed is likely to encourage children to seek support.

This can be a scary situation and make young people very vulnerable- if it happens don’t panic there are things you can do to protect them.

What to do if it happens?

Remember what’s happening is illegal and they won’t get into trouble. The key is to get help and advice as soon as possible.


Telling children and young people ‘what goes online stays online’, is not fully accurate and can be damaging because it removes hope.
Already in the public arena to highlight how extortion and coercion happens, how the approaches are made and the way they develop to blackmail and threats.
Reinforce the fact that no one would expect the child to deal with this problem alone. The sooner they tell someone the sooner they can be supported and the greater the chance of catching the criminals and stopping the crime.
By talking about how to take screen shots of threatening/sexting messages.
By suggesting not using social media for a period of time and even suspending a particular social media account.
About the issue who are skilled in supporting children with image-based incidents.
NOTE: Always consider a suicide prevention strategy. No matter how resilient the child may present, it is wise to engage social care and health professionals and to agree a suicide prevention plan.

Young people should remember to:

Welcome to the Online Safety Hub

How old are you?

If you are under 18, click the blue button below to visit the Online Safety Hub micro-site for children and young people.