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This guide is intended to provide you with information only. If you have a legal problem, you should get legal advice from a lawyer. Legal Aid Queensland believes the information provided is accurate as at April 2015 and does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. We are committed to providing accessible services to Queenslanders from all culturally diverse backgrounds. If you would like this publication explained in your language, please telephone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 to speak to an interpreter. Ask them to connect you to Legal Aid Queensland. This is a free service.
Cyber bullying is intentional and repeated cruel or hurtful behaviour that is carried out using technology, such as:
Cyber bullying can include:
A cyber bully can be someone you know or a stranger.
Yes. Cyber bullying is a crime if it involves using the internet or a mobile phone to:
Nobody should have to deal with bullying alone. Tell a trusted adult, like a parent, teacher, school counsellor, family friend, or even an older brother or sister.
If you need to talk to someone you can also call Kids Helpline or Lifeline. You can call them anytime—they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
Visit www.kidshelp.com.au to talk to a counsellor online or by email.
Phone: 13 11 14
People who bully get their kicks from knowing they’ve upset the person they’re bullying. If you don’t let them know they’ve upset you, you will have taken away half of their fun and they are more likely to stop.
If you are being bullied through email or instant messaging, block the sender’s messages. Never reply to harassing messages.
If you are being cyber bullied by someone in your school, let a teacher, counsellor or your school principal know. Schools must provide a safe, supportive, disciplined learning environment for students—bullying is not tolerated. Schools have discipline policies, guidelines or codes of conduct to prevent or deal with any cyber bullying behaviour.
You can also report online harassment and physical threats to your local police and your Internet Service Provider.
If you are being bullied by text messages you may need to change your phone number.
You can call the Department of Education and Training’s regional office for your area and ask to speak to the manager responsible for your school. Tell the regional office manager you want to make a cyber bullying complaint that was not resolved by your school.
If the Department of Education and Training does not do anything, then you can make a complaint about the department and your school’s inaction to the Queensland Ombudsman. Call the Office of the Queensland Ombudsman on 1800 068 908 and tell them you want to make a cyber bullying complaint that was not resolved by your school or the Department of Education and Training. You can also make a complaint online on the Queensland Ombudsman’s website: www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au
Bullies can be very persistent, but if a bully receives a letter from a lawyer or is contacted by the police this will often bring an end to their bullying behaviour.
If the bully receives a letter from a lawyer this can also bring parents (and schools) into line by encouraging them to take complaints seriously and more closely supervise the bully’s activities.
Did you know in many cases cyber bullies can be sued for defamation or for inflicting emotional distress on someone? They may also be charged with various computer crimes.
Legal Aid Queensland or a community legal centre can help you understand your legal rights if you are being cyber bullied. Call Legal Aid Queensland or a community legal centre to get free legal information or advice about your situation and find out your options. These services are free for people aged 17 and under.
Phone: 1300 65 11 88 (cost of a local call from a landline in Australia)
To find out where your closest centre is, call Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88 or visit the Legal Aid Queensland website www.legalaid.qld.gov.au
Sexting usually refers to:
Sexting can include images from film, movies, videos, photos, and digital images sent by SMS, email, chat rooms and publishing on blogs.
Yes. It is illegal to create, send, possess or intend to possess images of someone aged (or who appears to be aged) under 18 (including yourself) who is:
If you make, send or possess illegal sexting images to other people you may be charged with ‘distributing child exploitation material’ which is a serious crime.
If you are found guilty of this offence you could be sentenced to up to seven years in jail if you are aged 16 or under, or 14 years in jail if you are aged 17 or older.
You will not get into trouble if you were sent sexting images without asking for them and you deleted the images as soon as you could.
Yes. If you are aged 10 or older you can be charged with a criminal offence for possessing ‘child exploitation materials’.
If you receive images over the internet or on your mobile phone that contain naked or partially naked photos or videos of another person posing in a sexual way:
It is important to respect other people’s choices and their right to privacy and dignity.
One of the dangers with sexting (apart from it possibly being a crime) is that photos or videos of you can be easily distributed without your knowledge or control.
If you post images or video of yourself or another person online, there is no way to guarantee other people won’t be able to access it. You may not be able to control who sees the photos or videos. If in doubt, do not post.
It is completely normal to want to express your sexuality, but it is important you do so in a way that is safe. You need to be aware of all the possible consequences of your actions if you share images of yourself online:
If someone has shared a photo of you without your consent, there are a number of things you can do:
It’s important to remember that any information, photos or videos you post on Facebook might be copied, pasted, shared and distributed to other people.
Before you post, ask yourself “how would I feel if this content was shared widely at school or with my future employer?”.
If you receive abusive or offensive messages, photos or posts on your Facebook profile page you can:
Facebook will remove content that doesn’t follow its terms and conditions (eg nudity, bullying, graphic violence, spam). Use the ‘Report’ link near the photo or post to report the abusive or inappropriate content to Facebook. Reporting is confidential so no one will know who made the report.
Facebook will review the reported material and remove anything that violates their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If warranted, they will also warn
the person responsible and could even disable their account.
You should also review your privacy settings to control who can see your profile and posts.
Nudity, hate speech, threats, graphic violence, bullying and spam are not allowed on Facebook. If you see any inappropriate content (eg a photo, video, post, page,
group or event) on Facebook you can:
Facebook does not allow people to create fake profiles to imitate real people. If someone has created a Facebook account pretending to be you, you can report
this fake account to Facebook.
As Facebook’s layout and menu content changes over time the best way to find out how to report a fake account is via the ‘Help’ section.
Select the ‘Help’ link at the bottom of the Facebook homepage. In the search field type ‘fake account’. The search results will provide instructions on how to report
a fake account.
If someone created a Facebook profile pretending to be you and you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still file a report with Facebook:
Remember, reporting is confidential, so no one will know who made the report.
Use your privacy settings to control who gets to see your posts and timeline. You can also specify privacy for a specific message or post, and control how much information you share with applications (such as games and quizzes).
To check your privacy settings, click ‘Account’ at the top of any page and select ‘Privacy Settings’ in the dropdown menu that appears.
223 Hume St Toowoomba Qld
Phone: 1300 008 272 or 07 4616 9700
Phone: 1300 65 11 88
Legal Aid Queensland has 14 offices across Queensland. Visit the website to find your nearest office.
Phone: 1800 012 255 (24hrs, 7 days)
ATSILS has offices across Queensland. Visit the website to find your nearest office.
To find out where your closest community legal centre is visit the Community Legal Centres Queensland website.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
Phone: 13 11 14
There are lots of good websites that explain how to be cyber smart. Have a look at:
Last updated 10 October 2019