The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015
has resulted in 50 convictions and sentences in just over a year after the law came into effect.
Since November 2016, the legislation has resulted in 132 charges filed, 77 criminal cases finalised, 4 diversions completed, 3 dismissals, and 1 discharge without conviction, Justice Minister Amy Adams said.
“[The act] made it illegal to send messages and post material online that deliberately causes a victim serious emotional distress,” Adams said. “The law is also protecting those most vulnerable to online abuse by clamping down on bullies who encourage their victims to commit suicide, regardless of whether or not the victim attempts or is successful in taking their life.”
Adams also revealed that Netsafe, the approved agency under the act, has received more than 600 requests for assistance with harmful digital communication.
“The law tackles cyberbullying head-on and simplifies the process for getting harmful communications off the internet quickly and effectively, while still respecting the right to free speech,” she said.
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