Cyberbullying, online harassment and digital abuse can in some cases (depending on where you are located and where the person participating in abusive behavior is) constitute a criminal offense. Although it can be difficult to take legal action for some kinds of bullying and abuse online – many countries and states are introducing new legislation or amending existing laws to incorporate digital abuse and harassment online.
There is no legal definition of cyberbullying in U.K. law. However there are a number of existing laws that can be applied to cases of cyberbullying and online harassment.
The Defamation Act 2013 came into effect on January 1st 2014. Read the Act in full to learn what is included and excluded from the legislation.
Although at the time of writing this, Canada doesn’t have any laws directly recognizing cyberbullying, they have existing laws which could be used in certain cases of cyberbullying and online abuse. The perpetrator could potentially be prosecuted under one of the following laws:
In Canada, it is considered a serious breach of the law to share sexually explicit images of another person without their consent. This law doesn’t just protect minors – it protects everyone. Committing a crime of this nature could result in serious consequences such as time in jail.
Australia are yet to develop a law directly combatting cyberbullying but most forms of cyberbullying can be prosecuted under one of the following punishable crimes.
If someone is encouraging or pressuring someone to commit suicide, it is a very serious breach of Australian law and the perpetrator can face up to life in prison.
Although India is yet to develop laws in regards to cyberbullying and other forms of online abuse, they do have ‘S.66A of the Information Technology Act’ in which the offender will receive punishment for sending offensive, annoying or abusive messages to others through the use of the internet.
Ireland has developed some new laws to combat cyber-crime. Cyberbullying is punishable under the following laws: