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Online Harassment

Online harassment is a type of harassment that can take place on multiple platforms including email, instant messaging, social media sites, blogs and chat rooms. It includes offensive, abusive, violent, threatening, racist or explicit online content, which is designed to cause alarm or distress. It often involves cyber-bullying or “trolling”, but the creation of fake profiles in an individual’s name or using their pictures can also amount to an instance of harassment. 

The University’s Student Disciplinary Procedure gives more detail on what constitutes online misconduct.
Tips on how to deal with online harassment

  • 'Don't feed the trolls': Though we recognise that it may be difficult, the best thing you can do is not respond to the person who is posting abuse. This is because it is unlikely that you will be able to resolve things by responding – whoever is attacking you is often posting the messages just to get a reaction.
  • Dealing with fake profiles: If you encounter fake profiles, which are set up using someone else's personal information and photos, or pretending to be that person online, you should report them to the relevant social media provider: Reporting fake profiles on Facebook; Reporting fake profiles on LinkedIn; Reporting fake profiles on Twitter;Reporting fake profiles on Instagram. These fake accounts can be used to 'befriend' or communicate with you, your colleagues and friends to get personal information, ridicule, or damage reputations. 


The charity Protection against Stalking defines stalking as “a pattern of fixated and obsessive behaviour which is repeated, persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim”.  This type of behaviour is unwanted, persistent, and almost always carried out (or orchestrated by) one individual towards another individual.

If the behaviour is persistent and clearly unwanted, causing you fear, distress or anxiety then you should seek help and support. You can Contact Protection Against Stalking, using their referral form or call the National Stalking Helpline. Protection Against Stalking also run a monthly drop-in with cyber security experts in the Tonbridge area of West Kent every Wednesday 12pm-8pm. 

External support available for online harassment and stalking


TogetherAll is an anonymous 24/7 online global community with support from trained professionals which you can log onto using your university email address. They also have support articles that might help you: ‘Understanding Bullying: Bully for You’, ‘Standing Up to A Bully’, ‘Know Your Worth’.

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