Technology facilitated abuse, or ‘cyber-abuse’, has become a serious issue in the computer age. The stress of separation can sometimes cause a spouse to express their frustration over social media. But where is the line between venting and cyber-abuse? How do you go about protecting yourself from a cyber abuser?
What is Cyber Abuse?
Adult cyber abuse is defined by the eSafety Commissioner as any behaviour that uses an online service or platform (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, text messages, etc.) to menace, harass or offend someone. The eSafety Commissioner website provides a helpful list of examples of behaviour that may constitute cyber abuse:
- Sharing sexually explicit images (whether real or fake) of an individual online without their consent.
- Encouraging someone to harm themselves.
- Sharing the personal details (such as phone number and address) of an individual online without their consent.
- Ridiculing, insulting or humiliating someone because of their physical appearance, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or political beliefs.
If you believe you are experiencing cyber abuse in the form of any of the above or in another form, it is important that you respond appropriately.
- Don’t respond
It can be very difficult to ignore cyber abuse that you experience, but it is important that you do not retaliate.
- Collect evidence
Cyber abuse can often constitute illegal conduct and so it is important that you do what you can to collect evidence in case you need to report it in the future. This may include screenshotting abusive materials or saving certain files to a secure location.
- Report and block
After collecting evidence, you should report the account to the service or platform so that any required action can be taken by the service. Once you have reported, you should also mute or block the account to prevent any future contact.
Cyber Abuse and the Law
It is possible that the cyber abuse you are experiencing is illegal. If you feel you have become the victim of cyber abuse from an ex-partner or during family law proceedings or negotiations, you should seek immediate legal advice so that you can be properly protected.
If you feel you are in immediate danger you should call Triple Zero (000). Contact your local police if there are any threats to your safety or to the safety of your family and friends.
If you have any questions regarding the above or need assistance in your family law matter, contact Frank Law on (02) 9688 6023.
This is not legal advice.