Is Cyberstalking an Offence in Victoria?
Updated: 1 day ago
Cyberstalking is a form of stalking that occurs in the in the digital world and in in the context of electronic communications and interactions. It carries the same maximum penalties as any other instance of stalking that is alleged to have occurred in non-digital setting.
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How is Cyberstalking Made an Offence?
Any allegation of stalking requires the prosecution to establish beyond reasonable doubt, a course of conduct.
In additional to establishing behaviour that amounts to a course of conduct the prosecution must also prove that the alleged offender engaged in a course of conduct with the requisite intent to commit the offence.
Section 21A requires that the offender to know or they ought to have known their behaviour (the course of conduct) would have physical or mental harm.
Section 21 contains a very expansive definition of prohibited behaviours, which are capable of constituting a course of conduct.
The behaviours that may have once been confined to the physical world (following, keeping under surveillance, making threats, harassment, making offensive comments, giving offensive material) can be perpetrated in a digital sense.
Some of the prohibited behaviours specific to electronic communication include:
b) contacting the victim or any other person by post, telephone, fax, text message, e-mail or other electronic communication or by any other means whatsoever;
(ba) publishing on the Internet or by an e-mail or other electronic communication to any person a statement or other material—
(i) relating to the victim or any other person; or
(ii) purporting to relate to, or to originate from, the victim or any other person;
(bb) causing an unauthorised computer function (within the meaning of Subdivision (6) of Division 3) in a computer owned or used by the victim or any other person;
(bc) tracing the victim's or any other person's use of the Internet or of e-mail or other electronic communications;
What is the Penalty for Cyberstalking in Victoria?
In Victoria, any allegation of cyberstalking is prosecuted under the stalking offence provision provided for under section 21A of the Crimes Act 1958 (Victoria).
The penalty for stalking is 10 years imprisonment. Read our blog on stalking to see the sentencing outcomes applicable for this offence.
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