eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, Vol 16, No 1 (2009)

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Cyber Bullying in Schools and the Law: Is there an Effective Means of Addressing the Power Imbalance?

Des Butler

Abstract


Cyber bullying – or bullying through the use of technology – is a growing phenomenon which is currently most commonly experienced by young people and the consequences manifested in schools.  Cyber bullying shares many of the same attributes as face-to-face bullying such as a power imbalance and a sense of helplessness on the part of the target.  Not surprisingly, targets of face-to-face bullying are increasingly turning to the law, and it is likely that targets of cyber bullying may also do so in an appropriate case.  This article examines the various criminal, civil and vilification laws that may apply to cases of cyber bullying and assesses the likely effectiveness of these laws as a means of redressing that power imbalance between perpetrator and target.


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