Trolls and cyberbullies will cop AVO first then arrest if they fail to stop

NEW laws prompted by the tragic death of teenager Dolly Everett will put ­cyberbullies in jail for up to five years.

State government amendments to be unveiled today mean abusive online trolls and those who send threatening texts or emails would be slapped with Apprehended Violence Orders.

Those who fail to curb their abusive behaviour will face arrest and imprisonment.

The changes will alter the definition of “stalking” and “intimidation” to include online activities designed to instil fear of physical or mental harm, making it easier for perpetrators to be prosecuted.

The amendments to the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act are in response to the death of 14-year-old Northern Territory teenager Amy “Dolly” Everett, who committed suicide this year after a relentless online bullying campaign.

Under existing Commonwealth laws, trolls using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence face a maximum of only three years in ­prison. The NSW offence of stalking or intimidation carries a five-year prison sentence.

The amendments, to be introduced into state parliament in coming weeks, are aimed at protecting people from online abuse ranging from cyber-bullying and trolling, through to stalking and harassment of domestic or personal violence victims.

Examples of what will be covered by the laws include posting threatening or hurtful messages on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, posting abusive images or videos, repeatedly sending unwanted messages or abusive emails.

However, it will be up to the courts to determine the level of criminality of an individual’s online activities, while police will also use their discretion over potential charges.

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