What about the law?
Many forms of cyber abuse could be considered illegal under state or federal legislation.
For example, under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 (‘the Act’) it is an offence to menace, harass or cause offence using a ‘carriage service’. It is also an offence under the Act to use a carriage service to make threats to kill or cause serious harm to a person, regardless of whether the person receiving the threat actually fears that the threat would be carried out.
These provisions could capture instances of menacing, harassing or offensive conduct and threats carried out using landlines, mobile phones (including via MMS, SMS) and the internet, including via emails and social media.
An example would be using a mobile phone to repeatedly send offensive images to someone.
Most Australian states and territories also have laws covering stalking, blackmail, criminal defamation and various unlawful uses of technology. A number of jurisdictions have also passed laws creating offences for the threat to distribute, or distribution, of intimate images (image-based abuse).
Get legal help
Legal advice can help you work out the best way to address the cyber abuse you may be experiencing.
Depending on your situation, this could include seeking a protection order to keep a person from contacting you or a claim to sue if your reputation has been harmed by another person posting or sharing offensive material about you.
Your local Community Legal Centre or Legal Aid in your state or territory may be able to provide this advice.You can find out more about community legal centres and locate your local community legal centre by visiting the National Association of Community Legal Centres website.