The #Sesethu outrage: what the law says about cyber bullying

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Cyber bullying is real, and many are becoming victims. Some people use social media as a way of getting their ‘5 minutes of fame’ at the expense of someone else.

According to Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention, there isn’t a specific law in the country that deals with cyber bullying. There are various laws and fragments where cyber bullying can fall under such as criminal law or civil law depending on the type of bullying that occurred. The law hasn’t moved with the times of the Internet, however you can still press charges.

Depending on the nature of the acts of cyber bullying, the perpetrator may be criminally charged with the following criminal offences:

  • Crimen injuria
  • Assault
  • Criminal defamation
  • Extortion
  • Harassment

The impact of cyber bullying on its victims can be very similar to those of offline bullying. It can cause emotional, psychological such as depression, suicidal ideation and other psychological problems and physical harm.

If you’re a victim, seek professional help; and if it escalates, report online crimes on the following:

  • Cybercrimeorg.za
  • SAPS childprotect@saps.org.za
  • Crime Stop 0860 010 111
  • Childline 08000 55 555
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