As our children navigate the online world, the rise in cyberbullying has become a growing concern for Queensland parents. The impact of digital harassment can be profound, sometimes necessitating legal intervention.
Understanding Cyberbullying as a Criminal Offence in Queensland
Cyberbullying refers to the use of electronic communication to harass, threaten, or intimidate someone, typically through social media, messaging apps, or other online platforms. This behaviour can have severe consequences for the mental and emotional well-being of the victim and may extend beyond the digital realm into the physical world.
Similar to the rising concerns across Australia, Queensland acknowledges cyberbullying as a serious issue.
The Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) delineates specific circumstances where the use of the internet or mobile phones to menace, harass, or seriously offend someone constitutes a crime.
Section 474.17 defines the offence as the use of a carriage service (internet or mobile phone) in a manner that reasonable persons would consider menacing, harassing, or offensive.
The Impact of Cyberbullying
Building upon the significant distress that cyberbullying can cause for victims, the lack of physical proximity allows cyberbullies to engage in severe forms of abuse – and thus, often escaping immediate notice by law enforcement.
Cyberbullying in Australia
Approximately 4% of Australian children aged 12-17 have faced difficulties due to cyberbullying. Australia's evolving cyberbullying laws, including the potential for jail time, reflect the nation's commitment to combatting this digital menace.
Combating Cyberbullying: Strategies for Parents and the Community
Effective strategies for combating cyberbullying and fostering a safe community may include:
Promoting awareness and education;
Strengthening policies and legislation;
Fostering safe online spaces;
Encouraging open communication;
Engaging parents and guardians.
Consequences of Cyberbullying in Queensland
Individuals found guilty of cyberbullying offenses in Queensland may face significant consequences, including fines, restraining orders, and imprisonment. The severity of the punishment depends on the nature and impact of the cyberbullying act.
Fines and Restitution: Courts may impose fines on individuals convicted of cyberbullying offenses. Additionally, they may order the offender to pay restitution to the victim, compensating them for any financial losses incurred as a result of the cyberbullying.
Restraining Orders: Victims of cyberbullying can seek restraining orders against their harassers. These orders may prohibit the offender from contacting the victim or engaging in specific online activities that contribute to the harassment.
Imprisonment: In cases involving serious and persistent cyberbullying, the court may impose imprisonment as a punishment. This underscores the gravity with which the legal system in Queensland views cyberbullying and its potential harm.
Building a community that values empathy, respect, and responsible digital behaviour ensures the well-being and safety of its members both online and offline. If you need legal assistance, contact Creevey Horrell Criminal Lawyers with offices in Brisbane, Roma, Toowoomba, and Townsville.
Contact Creevey Horrell Criminal Lawyers
Based in Brisbane, Roma, Toowoomba, and Townsville.
Visit www.chcriminallawyers.com.au/contact-us to contact us today.