Information Technology

Legal Implications Of Cyberbullying

 Cyberbullying is the act of threatening or intimidating a person by sending them messages via electronic means. Depending on the situation, cyberbullying can fall under criminal law, or even civil law.

 It is the act of harassing, threatening, or intimidating someone through the use electronic of platforms. For example, cyberbullying can occur in social media platforms, email, text messages and online forums.

When a person engages in cyberbullying, they often make insulting or derogatory comments about another person. They may also spread rumours about a person, and otherwise share private information about someone.

Parties may also send abusive messages or images to threaten someone. Needless to say, this has a serious impact on the mental health of the victim of cyberbullying. It can lead to depression.

Moreover, it can also affect their social life and self-esteem. Cyberbullying can also lead to teenagers self-harming themselves. Therefore, this is a very serious issues that needs to be addressed. Therefore, this is a very serious issues that needs to be addressed.

What are the Legal Implications of Cyberbullying?

In Australia, there can be legal implications for both the victim and perpetrator in cyberbullying matters. Given below is an overview of some of the legal implications of cyberbullying:

  1. State and Territory legislation: Each state and territory in Australia has specific legislation related to cyberbullying. For example, in Victoria, the Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Act 2011 makes it a criminal offence to bully someone online.
  2. Criminal offence: Under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995, cyberbullying is considered as a criminal offence. Depending on the severity of the offence, the perpetrator could face imprisonment for up to 10 years.
  3. School suspension/expulsion: For teenagers and students in schools, cyberbullying can have implications such that their schools can suspend or expel students who engage in such behaviour.
  4. Civil law: Under civil law, the victims can take legal action against the perpetrator. They can claim damages in case of emotional distress or any other loss such as loss of wages as a result of the cyberbullying.
  5. Workplace consequences: Cyberbullying can also have consequences in the workplace. Employees can face termination or other disciplinary action for engaging in such behaviour.

Cyberbullying can also include elements of defamation. Consider an example where a person posts false information about someone on social media with the intent to harm their reputation. This will be considered as cyberbullying and defamation.

While Australian laws on defamation are complex, generally, a person who has been defamed can sue for damages and seek an injunction to prevent the further publication of defamatory material.

To conclude, cyberbullying is a serious offence that has serious legal implications in Australia. If you are being subjected to cyberbullying, you should be aware of the rights that you have so that you can order to protect yourself from further harm.                                    

 Author info: 

John Bui is the Principal Solicitor of JB Solicitors – a law firm based in Sydney, Australia. John is a Nationally Accredited family law Mediator and Arbitrator with over 10 years’ experience in family law and commercial litigation.

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