Hundreds helped by cyberbullying laws

Hundreds of people have been helped by cyberbullying laws over the past 2 years.

The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 includes a range of measures to prevent and reduce the impact of cyberbullying and other modern forms of harassment and intimidation.

For example, it made it a criminal offence to send messages and post material online that deliberately causes a victim serious emotional distress.

Since coming into force in July 2015, dozens of offenders have been held to account. There have been:

  • 148 criminal charges filed relating to 115 people
  • 100 criminal charges finalised relating to 79 people
  • 66 convicted and sentenced
  • 25 withdrawn
  • 9 other outcomes, including diversions completed and dismissals.

The Act also established an approved agency, NetSafe, to assess, investigate and deal with complaints, and introduced a civil court process for serious or repeated harmful digital communications. Members of the public need to go to NetSafe before they can apply to the court, which can make orders to take down material and other remedies.

Netsafe has received more than 900 requests for help in the first 6 months since it began acting as the approved agency in November 2016.

The courts have received 14 civil cases requesting Harmful Digital Communications Orders, 6 of which have been completed.

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