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Cyber Abuse and how to stop it

What is Cyber Abuse?

Cyber abuse is ‘online behaviour which is reasonably likely to have a seriously threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating effect on a person. It is behaviour that threatens to hurt a person socially, psychologically or even physically.’

Cyber abuse can occur through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, games or other online forums.

What types of behaviour are Cyber Abuse?

Cyber abuse behaviour includes:

  • Sharing, or threatening to share, intimate or sexual photos or videos of a person online without their consent;
  • Encouraging vulnerable people to harm themselves or to commit suicide;
  • Stalking a person online;
  • Hacking into a person’s internet accounts to impersonate them;
  • Creating fake social media accounts in another person’s name using someone else’s picture, also known as “cat-fishing”;
  • Spreading lies or malicious rumours about a person;
  • Threatening violence or inciting others to do the same;
  • Repeatedly making unwanted contact by calling, emailing, texting, messaging, or sending obscene material to a person;
  • Tracking another person’s movements using GPS, tracking apps or spyware.

How to complain about Cyber Abuse

To make a complaint to police or the courts, you need to collect evidence of the cyber abuse to support your case. It is best to get legal advice about the evidence you will need. Evidence can be collected by:

  • Taking screen shots of abusive posts, texts or emails.
  • Saving or copy voice mail messages.
  • Keeping a copy of all emails, letters and faxes sent to you.
  • Saving your evidence where the abuser can’t find it.

eSafety Women

eSafety Women is an initiative of the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner as part of the Australian Government’s Women’s Safety Package to Stop the Violence. It helps by giving women the tools they need to be confident online.

The eSafety website contains resources to help women stay connected safely. You can access the website by clicking here.

 

Legal help available

If you have any queries regarding this article or need legal assistance please call us on 07 5597 3366 or fill out the ‘Contact Us‘ form at the bottom of the page.

Please note that this article has been prepared by Margaret Miller, partner of Bell Legal Group, for information purposes only. It is not legal advice nor should it be relied upon as such.