Cyberbullying In Australia

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Pages: 13

The suicide of television personality, Charlotte Dawson, earlier in 2014 has put the spotlight on some major issues with the way the internet is used in today’s society. An article published by the Daily Telegraph has said that Dawson “had suffered a long history of depression and suffered abuse by social media trolls”. (Harris, 2014) Cyber-bullying is an issue that is prevalent in the current generation with advances in technology, the internet and most importantly, social media providing a platform for cyber-bullies. A survey by Ditch the Label, an organization dedicated to raising bullying awareness, questioned 10,008 people aged from 13-22 on whether they had been involved in cyber-bullying. This survey found that 7 in 10 of
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Despite slight variance in these state laws, stalking and harassment requires that the offender intends that the victim has a fear of violence or harm and in this case harm does extend to both physical and psychological damage. These laws appear to cover cyber-bullying however it may be difficult to prove that physical or mental damage has been caused by online harassment from one person due to the anonymity the internet provides for bullies.
The Queensland Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) is the only piece of legislation under Australian jurisdictions that refers to ‘at least one occasion’ of stalking or harassing actions while all others require repeated offences. Harassment online only needs to occur once to cause some harm to someone meaning that having a repeated offence system leaves victims vulnerable to further bullying for a longer period of time. If this concept was adapted from Queensland law into Federal law the Australian legal system would be better equipped to provide protection against
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Alastair Nicholson, member of The National Centre Against Bullying said in response to Shane Gerada’s minor sentence, “There is a very strong argument that it should be considered a specific offence … You need to have some firm framework in which people can operate and know what the can and can’t do.” (Carbonell, 2010) It is predominantly for these issues with the current legislation that amendments need to be made to both State and Federal laws to provide better protection and courses of action for cases of