The internet safety organisation NetSafe(external link) has been appointed as the official service to help deal with cyberbullying and other modern forms of harassment and intimidation.
The decision paves the way for new measures to help victims, including new District Court orders becoming available later this year.
Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced(external link) that NetSafe will carry out the functions of the "Approved Agency" under the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015.
'NetSafe will play a key role in reducing the devastating impact of harmful digital communications, by providing a timely and effective service for victims to get help from an independent body', says Ms Adams.
Alison Hill, General Manager Provider and Community Services, says NetSafe has a strong track record helping deal with harmful digital communications, making it perfectly suited to take on the role.
'The Agency will be the first stop for people seeking help with a harmful digital communication', says Alison. 'If the agency can't resolve their complaint, people will be able to apply to the District Court for court orders, such as take-down and cease-and-desist notices'.
'These civil orders will become available once the agency officially begins operating later this year. They complement existing measures that are already in effect, such as criminal penalties for the most serious cases'.
An implementation team of people from across the Ministry is helping NetSafe to get the Approved Agency up and running, and laying the ground work for the new civil regime. This includes setting up a panel of technical advisors, who will support judges considering applications for the new orders, and putting in place court rules and processes.
Check out the Police "Words Hurt Too(external link)" video launched during Bullying-free New Zealand Week (16-20 May 2016), which demonstrates how harmful a single word can be.