Harassment and stalking offences

3.25 State and territory laws criminalising harassment and stalking vary considerably depending on the jurisdiction. Legislation in Queensland and Victoria expressly prohibits ‘cyber-harassment’ committed through ‘electronic messages’[41] or by ‘otherwise contacting the victim’.[42]

3.26 The Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 provides offences for conduct amounting to harassment that occurs via a communications service (which includes the internet). Relevant offences include ‘using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence’[43] and ‘using a carriage service to make a threat’.[44]

3.27 There is a strong framework in family law to protect individuals from harassment, including harassment that occurs via electronic communications. However, this is limited to the victims of family violence.[45]

[41] Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 21A(2)(b).

[42] Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) s 359A(7)(b).

[43] Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) s 474.17.

[44] Ibid s 474.15.

[45] For example, stalking is included in the definition of ‘family violence’ in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s 4AB(2)(c).