Cyber bullies face sanctions

By Audrey Young, APNZ

Justice Minister Judith Collins said the Harmful Communications Bill sent a strong message to those who harassed and harmed others online that their time was up. Photo / Thinkstock
Justice Minister Judith Collins said the Harmful Communications Bill sent a strong message to those who harassed and harmed others online that their time was up. Photo / Thinkstock

A bill which aims to stop cyber bullying by groups such as the Roast Busters will be introduced to Parliament today.

The group, which police say has been operating since 2011, bragged of having sex with young and drunk girls, then naming and shaming them on a Facebook page - an action they label roasting. The group encouraged other young men to join them.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said the Harmful Communications Bill sent a strong message to those who harassed and harmed others online that their time was up.

"Cyber bullying can have a devastating effect on people's lives, particularly young people. This bill will protect victims and hold perpetrators to account," said Ms Collins.

Proposals in the bill include:

* Creating a new civil enforcement regime.
* Allowing people to take serious complaints to the District Court, which will be able to issue remedies such as take-down orders.
* Providing a legislative mechanism for people to easily and quickly request the removal of harmful content from websites.
* Making it an offence to send messages and post material online with intent to cause harm.
* Creating a new offence of incitement to commit suicide.

- NZ Herald

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