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Online haters may be prosecuted for their comments (Article)

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Very interesting article... laying down all the facts about online hate and cyber bullying. The writers made it seem like it was specifically about Delta in the start, but it's more just a general article. Not sure about the way they referred to her in here.. BUT it should scare away some of the online haters.

Online haters may be prosecuted for their comments
  • Siobhan Duck, Erin Michael
  • From:Herald Sun
  • June 15, 2012 5:41PM

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PEOPLE running hate campaigns against Delta Goodrem could be prosecuted for stalking and liable for thousands in defamation costs.

Victoria Police's cyber bullying expert Luke Devlin said people who hid behind their keyboards to harass and make threats of violence against celebrities like Goodrem, work colleagues and friends could be in for a rather nasty shock - their remarks are a potentially serious criminal offence.

"A lot of people don't understand the harm in this sort of behaviour - often their defence is that it was only meant to be a joke,'' he said. "They would never say these things to a person's face but for some reason they think its OK to say them publicly on the internet. If anything it's worse to say them on the internet because the comments can live forever and reach far more people.

"We need to send a very clear message to the community that it is not acceptable behaviour to make derogatory comments about someone's appearance, or threats of violence or even death against them.'' Sgt Devlin said scathing cyber attacks on celebrities could not only result in a criminal prosecution but a civil suit for defamation, potentially costing perpetrators thousands.

He said police were working with teachers, parents and students to stamp out cyber bullying by raising awareness. Police were also recieving additional training and information on how to handle cyber-bullying complaints more effectively.

"I expect there to be an increase in reports (to police about cyber bullying) as awareness grows and that's a great thing,'' he said.
"If we save just one child's life by preventing a suicide then it's all worth it.'' Sgt Devlin will speak alongside Australia's Family Court former chief judge Alastair Nicholson at the national Centre Against Bullying conference today.

Sgt Devlin agrees that Brodie's law, brought in by the State Government to address bullying, does not go far enough to safeguard people against bullying. Parents and guardians of students at Albert Park Primary School were largely in favour of a proposed overhaul of Brodie's Law when quizzed this morning.

Dad Jeylan Kismet said the legislation should be recalled and agreed that if a child tormented a fellow student the onus belonged to the parents. "Bullies are born from parental neglect more than anything,'' he said. "Subsequently, the weight should fall on the parents' shoulders.''

Martine Keddie, who also has a daughter at the school, thought the State Government should approve the amendment if a warning system was put in place for parents. She said before legal action took place, parents should be made aware if their child was a perpetrator or victim of the schoolyard bulling in the first instance.

Anything they can do to make more teachers and staff realise bullying is a big issue, I think is a good idea, she said. Sarah Kalpokas said the right to take legal action on a bullys parents could stifle some cases of bullying, but it would be hard to know where to draw the line with the legislation.

"It would definitely give the message that parents are directly responsible for a child who bullies, but in a way, they are,'' she said.
"But I don't know about it going to the extent that they should be sued for it.''


Edited by andy.987, 15 June 2012 - 06:30 PM.

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