Guidance for Victims of Press Abuse

If you or any one you know has been a victim of press abuse please contact us. We are here to help.

Many ordinary people still fall victim to relentless and intrusive press attention, with no one to turn to. Hacked Off works closely with those who have suffered press abuse and intrusion, offering support, assistance and advice when they find themselves at the centre of unwanted media attention.

We support victims of press abuse, through advice and guidance on how they can minimise press intrusions and seek remedy.

If you would like advice or assistance on any of the below or wish to share your experience with us in confidence, please contact us via the form below or call 020 3735 8844.

We always endeavour to respond to complainants as quickly as possible and we will handle your case with both sensitivity and confidentiality.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

For services local to you, the national mental health database – Hub of Hope – allows you to enter your postcode to search for organisations and charities who offer mental health advice and support in your area.

What can I do if..?

1) An article and/or photos have been published about you (or others) which may have breached journalistic standards.

If you believe this has happened, please contact us via the form below, with a copy of, or link to, the offending article, as well as a summary of what has happened.

We can then advise you on what your next steps should be, such as whether it is worth contacting a complaints-handling body. Most publications are either members of “IPSO” or “IMPRESS”.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is an industry-controlled body with a complaints-handling function. It is not independent and is not fair to complainants. It covers most (but not all) newspapers and many (but not all) online news publishers.

It is so flawed that many consider it may not be worth pursuing, as even if you “win”, the remedy or sanction is rarely made equivalent to the violation.

In our experience many victims of press abuse are often frustrated with the IPSO complaints process and the remedial action they provide, but we can still offer guidance on how best to make a complaint and what other avenues may be open to you.

Other publications may be members of IMPRESS, a regulator better equipped to effectively regulate publications, as it is independent and complies fully with the criteria that Leveson recommended. A list of their members is published here. We can offer advice on their complaints process and further details for contacting them.


2) You feel you are being harassed by one or more journalists

If you are being harassed by a journalist(s), IPSO has the ability to circulate an alert known as a ‘desist notice’.

This communicates to all main newspapers that you do not wish to speak to the press or be photographed.

This measure can be effective because IPSO’s procedure is to simply act as a post box, so there is often less pro-press bias in the way it functions.

Please feel free to contact us on 020 3735 8844 in these circumstances and we can help advise on the next steps depending on which body the newspaper is apparently regulated.


3) You believe you have been libelled or unlawfully intruded upon 

If you have believe you have been libelled (false and defamatory material about you has been published) or unlawfully intruded upon by a newspaper or news website, please use the contact form below to get in touch.

We aren’t qualified to give formal legal advice, but we can give you guidance and may be able to put you in touch with affordable legal advice and/or representation.


Support is provided to all victims of press abuse who:

  • Have genuinely been affected by press misconduct, inaccuracy, intrusion, or other abuses
  • Are based in the UK, and affected by conduct committed by newspapers based in the UK


Does this criteria not match for you?

If you have ever been the victim of press abuse, you will know how upsetting it is to find yourself in the newspapers or other media.  This is compounded when you discover that these stories remain online forever. Often if people Google your name, these articles will appear and it can be the first thing that others know about you.

It can be very time consuming to go through a process to remove these search results and articles yourself.

My Clean Slate – run by a victim of press abuse – was created to take on Google, Bing and Yahoo and get these articles removed so that when your name is searched these damaging and offensive stories do not appear. My Clean Slate can do this without recourse to the courts and for a one-off fee. Find out more at: www.mycleanslate.co.uk


Send us a confidential email below.