Current legislation

The Online Safety Act 2021 includes a range of schemes to keep Australians safe online, including mechanisms to remove severely abusive and harmful content.

Key elements of the Online Safety Act 2021 are included on this page. For more information, or to report severe online abuse, visit the eSafety website.

Adult cyber-abuse

The Online Safety Act 2021 allows eSafety to investigate complaints about severe online abuse directed at an Australian adult. This scheme provides a pathway for those affected by severe online abuse to have this material removed from the internet. The scheme operates at a high threshold of 'serious harm' to protect those who are most in need of help.

Online services that do not comply with a notice to remove adult cyber abuse material may be subject to a civil penalty of up to 500 penalty units.

Find out more about severe online abuse, or make a report.

Image-based abuse

The eSafety Commissioner administers an image-based abuse scheme which provides a mechanism for Australians to seek the removal of explicit or intimate images that have been shared without their consent. Victims of this type of abuse are able to contact eSafety directly to seek help.

Find out more about image-based abuse, or make a report about it.

Online Content Scheme

Illegal and offensive online content is also regulated by the Online Safety Act 2021. The Act establishes an Online Content Scheme which is designed to protect consumers, particularly children, from exposure to harmful material. The Online Content Scheme allows members of the public to make complaints to eSafety about illegal or offensive content, and for eSafety to assess these complaints.

The Act defines illegal or restricted content as either 'class 1 material' or 'class 2 material'. Class 1 material and class 2 material are defined by reference to Australia's National Classification Scheme, a cooperative arrangement between the Australian Government and state and territory governments for the classification of films, computer games and certain publications.

Where content is hosted in Australia and is found by eSafety to be class 1, the Australian Federal Police will be informed. Where content hosted in Australia is class ;2, eSafety will either order its removal or require that the content be placed behind an appropriate restricted access system. For content hosted overseas that is found to be class 2, the URL to the material will be added to eSafety's prohibited URLs list and shared with providers of accredited family friendly filtering products.

The Online Safety Act 2021 also helps eSafety to order the removal of 'worst of the worst' forms of online content, no matter where it's hosted. This may include:

  • child sexual abuse material
  • detailed instruction or promotion of crime or violence
  • gratuitous, exploitative and offensive depictions of violence or sexual violence
  • material that advocates carrying out a terrorist act.

Information, including instructions for making a complaint to eSafety, is available on the eSafety website. Complaints about illegal and offensive content may be lodged by completing the online form.


eSafety administers a complaints service for Australian children who experience serious cyberbullying. Under the scheme, eSafety can investigate complaints about serious cyberbullying material targeting an Australian child and require its removal. eSafety can require content be taken down from the full range of online services used by children including social media platforms, games, websites and messaging services.

Find out more about cyberbullying or make a report by visiting the eSafety website.

Rapid website blocking arrangements

The Online Safety Act 2021 also includes rapid website-blocking arrangements to protect Australians from exposure to extremely harmful material such as live-streaming of terrorist attacks.

The rapid website-blocking power allows eSafety to respond to online crisis events by requiring internet service providers block access to material depicting, promoting, inciting or instructing in abhorrent violent conduct.

Programs, prevention, education and awareness

eSafety has a wide range of functions to promote online safety for Australians, playing a national coordination role in online safety education, programs, and research about online safety.

For more information, visit the eSafety website.