NUM regularly receives reports about persistent, unwanted and/or abusive communications ; this page contains information on how to deal with it.
- Do not respond to the message - it may encourage the sender or make the situation worse.
- Block or mark the user as spam – How to do this will vary on different phones/devices/apps/email services, but most have a filter/block function which means that you don't need to see or receive calls or messages from specified numbers. If the communication is via social media you can contact the social media provider and report it directly to them.
- Keep a record of the contact – Keep copies of letters, texts, emails, and screenshots of other forms of communication. This information helps to show the bigger picture and provides a record of what has been happening.
- Report to NUM – Via your NUM membership and use the online reporting form. NUM will create an alert and post this out to other sex workers and add details to the NUM number and email checker which will help other sex workers stay safe.
- Contact our NUM caseworkers – They can provide emotional support and talk through this with you to discuss your options and provide you with information about local support services.
What the law says:
If the contact is more than an annoyance and is abusive or threatening it may be an offence of malicious communications or harassment.
Malicious Communications – One incident of – message sent through a public communications network that is indecent, grossly offensive, obscene or threatening/menacing.
Harassment – More than one incident (must be related) no legal definition but must cause alarm, distress or torment and must be indecent, grossly offensive, obscene or threatening/menacing.
Both must take into account the “reasonable person” test. Meaning that if it was felt that a person of reasonable firmness (i.e. the average person on the street) would not be alarmed or distressed, the offence is not committed. The person sending the messages must also be aware that the course of conduct they are pursuing would cause the victim to alarmed or distressed.
Anyone affected by a crime can report to the police by calling 101 (non-emergency) where you can speak to them anonymously about what has happened and explore what options police can take and what this would involve for you.
If you aren’t sure about this you can contact NUM caseworkers who can explore this further with you with no pressure.