Tougher laws for online abusers
The NSW Government is committed to protecting domestic violence victims and other members of the community from these threats. The change will address an emerging trend of threatening and harassing behaviour on social media, which can make victims feel scared, powerless and depressed.
Changes will include adding online activity to definitions of ‘stalking’ and ‘intimidation’ in the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act. Courts will also be allowed to make Apprehended Violence Orders in response to serious online abuse.
Behaviour like posting threatening or hurtful images or videos online and repeatedly sending unwanted messages or abusive emails is included in this change. If perpetrators do not stop, they face arrest and possible imprisonment of up to five years.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the change recognises that online abuse can cause victims significant psychological trauma and have potentially devastating, even tragic consequences.
“These changes are not aimed at policing free speech. They are aimed at preventing abuse,” said Ms Berejiklian.
Where to get help
Support services that operate 24/7 include:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Victims Access Line – 1800 633 063
- Domestic Violence Line – 1800 656 463
- Men’s Referral Service – 1300 766 491.