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Cyber bullies to be prosecuted under Tasmania's criminal code

Will Hodgman, Premier
Elise Archer, Minister for Justice

A re-elected Hodgman Liberal Government will move swiftly to make serious cyber-bullying a criminal offence.

Bullying is the action of a coward but it can have devastating impacts on its victims

Rapidly changing technologies now give online bullies access to their victims 24 hours a day, and it can follow you anywhere

My Government previously asked the TLRI to investigate the issue of bullying, including cyber-bullying.

We have already taken action in this space with the anti cyber-bullying program eSmart Schools Cyber Safety now available in all Government schools, in partnership with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

Professional learning is also available along with a suite of online resources that will increase the effectiveness of Tasmanian Government Schools to combat bullying, including cyber-bullying.

But, it is clear that we need to do more to address this serious problem.

We propose the laws will target those who use the internet with the intention to cause serious, physical or mental harm to others. It will send a clear message that this behaviour is not only unacceptable, it is a criminal act.

Cyber-bullying can encompass an extremely wide range of behaviours, it is not just sharing personal or intimate images, but making threats using email, text or instant messages, online stalking, or bombarding another person with offensive messages.

With many children now owning their own devices, they can be targeted without others, including their parents, even knowing about it.
We will draw on best practice to ensure that Tasmanians are provided with the best possible protection and that the perpetrators of this sort of shameful behaviour are held to account.