In an age where privacy appears to be a forgotten concept, those using social media are significantly exposed to the risk of mentally damaging harassment. With today’s youth choosing to share their day-to-day activities with an online audience, they are subject to receiving scrutiny from others, even if they are strangers.
With online abuse developing into a major issue of the modern age, it has relatively gone unpunished, creating a sense of invincibility for these perpetrators, and a feeling of helplessness for victims within these online environments.
However, in a recent case heard in the Downing Centre Local Court, a young man was found guilty of “using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence”, based on a series of derogatory comments towards a young woman on Facebook. Magistrate William Pearce chose to create an analogy between this incident and a game of football, where one may deal with some criticism, or a “few bumps”, but would not consent to remarks as offensive as those made in this scenario, which were likened to a “savage right hook”.
Ultimately, the offender was sentenced to a twelve (12) month good behaviour bond.
It is crucial that there is now a precedent by which young victims of online harassment know they may be protected, and that any future perpetrators are aware that consequences now exist.
You may also seek help at https://www.headspace.org.au/.