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Online Harassment

A visible online presence is an essential part of many musicians’ careers, but for some it can come with online abuse. Here is a list of resources you may find useful.

Last updated: 05 December 2023

Immediate actions when dealing with online abuse

Glitch, a charity working to end online abuse founded by Seyi Akiwowo, has created a free guide to quick, simple actions you can take if you are currently experiencing online abuse.

The key steps are:

  1. Document (more information on this is below)
  2. Block and report
  3. Safety check in
  4. Call on your community
  5. Take a step away

View the guide

Support helplines

Members who experience online harassment can contact Help Musicians' helpline, open to anyone who experiences bullying and harassment in the industry.

The MU’s Safe Space scheme also provides a safe space for musicians to report instances of sexual harassment and abuse in the music industry. Report your experiences to Safe Space.

There are many organisations providing mental health and wellbeing support. Take a look at our full list of organisations that may be particularly useful to musicians.

Recording online abuse

Glitch has created a form and guidance document to help you document and record online abuse. It includes useful tips for keeping track of evidence, how instances of online abuse made you feel, and other key details to record so you can practice self-care and have a record for the future in case you need it.

If you do not feel comfortable recording this information, you may find it useful to ask a trusted friend or colleague for support.

Women in public life

Women in public life are also more likely to suffer from online abuse. While much of the focus is on women MPs – including young political candidates and Black and Asian women MPs who are more likely again to experience online abuse – women activists are also likely to be at risk. 

Dealing with digital threats to democracy is a toolkit created by Glitch to help women in public life be safer online. It includes digital self-defence and self-care tips, as well as advice on keeping your supporters safe online and running positive campaigns.

Stalking and cyberstalking

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust is a personal safety charity and leading authority on stalking including cyberstalking. Resources include the National Stalking Helpline, the Am I Being Stalked? assessment tool, and practical advice on staying safe online.

Tech abuse is real.

Tech abuse is the use of technology by abusers to control, harass or intimidate. In 2019, 72% of Refuge’s service users reported experiencing tech abuse.

Refuge has launched a tech safety hub to help you stay safe online. It includes an explanation of tech abuse with examples of what it may look like, and advice on how to secure your tech on your phone, tablet and other devices as well as in your home.

Encouraging solidarity

Glitch encourages everyone to do their bit to make online spaces safer for everyone – including those who do not experience online abuse. Read their advice on how you can be an Online Active Bystander and share it with your fans, colleagues, friends and other networks.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust runs National Stalking Awareness Week every April, as well as campaigning on personal safety and stalking issues and organising events, conferences and training sessions throughout the year.

Refuge provides advice on recognising tech abuse, and what do if you think someone you know is experiencing tech abuse.

Remember your commitment as an MU member

Every MU member signs up to the MU’s Rules when they join. That includes a commitment “to oppose actively all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age, or other status or personal characteristic” in the MU’s objects (goals / purpose).

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