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Teaching resource: Cyberbullying

About this teaching resource


This resource is part of the Sex, young people and the law education program developed by the Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre and the Community Legal Education team at Victoria Legal Aid, first published in February 2013. This is the third edition, published November 2014.

Sex, young people and the law is designed to help young people to understand their legal rights and responsibilities and make informed decisions about sex and relationships. It covers four topics: Age of consent, Consent, Cyberbullying and Sexting.

This resource is for lawyers, teachers and educators delivering education sessions to young people on the Cyberbullying topic. It supports the PowerPoint presentation and activities on Cyberbullying, available at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/sex-young-people-law

This teaching resource includes:

a session plan

legal background notes

activity answers.

The session plan draws together all the components of the Cyberbullying topic of Sex, young people and the law to help deliver effective and engaging legal education sessions to young people. It contains basic legal information and key messages to guide you throughout your session. You can adapt the plan to suit the needs of your students and time allocated to the session.

The legal background notes will help you prepare your session and strengthen your legal knowledge on the topic. It is not expected that you will read these notes aloud in your session.

The activity answers will help you prompt correct responses from students during the activities. The activity sheets for students, which include activity instructions, are available at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/sex-young-people-law

For more information on Sex, young people and the law, email Community Legal Education, Victoria Legal Aid on cle@vla.vic.gov.au or call 9269 0234 and ask for Community Legal Education.


Produced by Victoria Legal Aid

Victoria Legal Aid


350 Queen Street, Melbourne 3000

For help with legal problems, call Legal Help on 1300 792 387

For business queries, call 9269 0234

First edition February 2013



Third edition November 2014

Acknowledgements: We thank Victoria Legal Aid lawyers, Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre, Charlotte Powell, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria for their input into this resource.

© 2014 Victoria Legal Aid. Please contact us if you would like to re-use any of this publication in your own publications or websites. Email cle@vla.vic.gov.au

Disclaimer: The material in this publication is a general guide only. It is not legal advice. If you need to, please get legal advice about your own situation.

About Victoria Legal Aid

Victoria Legal Aid is an independent statutory authority set up to provide legal aid in the most effective, economic and efficient manner. It is the biggest legal service in Victoria, providing legal information, education and advice for all Victorians.

Victoria Legal Aid can help people with legal problems about criminal matters, family breakdown, child protection, family violence, child support, immigration, social security, mental health, discrimination, guardianship and administration, tenancy and debt.

Victoria Legal Aid provides:

free legal information through its website, Legal Help phone-line, community legal education, publications and other resources

legal advice through the Legal Help phone-line and free clinics on specific legal issues

minor assistance to help people negotiate, write letters, draft documents or prepare to represent themselves in court

grants of legal aid to pay for legal representation by a lawyer in private practice or a VLA staff lawyer.

350 Queen Street
Melbourne 3000
For help with legal problems, call Legal Help on 1300 792 387
For business queries, call 9269 0234

Table of contents


Teaching resource: Cyberbullying 1

About this teaching resource 1

Table of contents 3

Glossary 5

Session plan: Cyberbullying 6

Preparation 6

Session plan 8

Legal background notes: Cyberbullying 13

What is cyberbullying? 13

Real life examples 13

Possible changes to the law around cyberbullying 14

What laws relate to cyberbullying? 14

Use of carriage services 14

Threats 14

Stalking 15

Assault 15

Unauthorised access to password-protected information 15

Discrimination 15

Sexual harassment 15

Teachers’ and employers’ duty of care responsibilities 16

What can happen legally? 16

How is bullying resolved? 16

How might the police get involved? 16

How might this affect that person in the future? 16

What can you do if you are being bullied? 17

Where can you get help? 17

Additional resources 19

Legal information 19

Non-legal resources 20

Activity answers: Cyberbullying 21

Activity one – Out 21

Activity two – Mediation 22

Glossary


accused – a person charged with committing an offence

arrest – when the police hold you in custody because they think you have committed an offence

bullying – repeated physical, psychological, social or verbal attack, often by those in a position of power, with the intention of causing distress for their own gain or satisfaction

charge – the offence that the police say you have committed

criminal record – a record of what happens in court. It shows findings of guilt and convictions against you for other offences

custody – when you have been arrested and the police hold you in prison

cyberbullying – any form of bullying that uses online communication or mobile phones. It can include texts, phone calls, instant messages, blogs, chat, social media posts and comments on websites

evidence – information (documents or material) used in court to prove something

hearing – when your case is at court

judge – a person who hears cases in the County Court or Supreme Court. They can make decisions about whether you are guilty or not and what penalties you will get

minor – person under 18 years old

magistrate – a person who hears cases in the Magistrates’ Court or the Children’s Court. They can make decisions about whether you are guilty or not and what penalties you will get

offence – when you have broken the law, you are said to have committed an offence. See also ‘charge’

sexual harassment – unwanted sexual behaviour

stalking – when a person repeatedly does something to cause physical or mental harm to someone else, inclusing causing someone to self-harm or fear for their safety or someone else’s safety

victim – the person whom a crime is committed against

Session plan: Cyberbullying

Preparation


Learning outcomes

At the end of the session students should have increased knowledge of:

laws about cyberbullying

consequences of breaking these laws

where to get help.



Supporting materials

These materials are all available on www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/sex-young-people-law

Teaching resource: Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying PowerPoint presentation

Activities: Cyberbullying for students (you will need to print copies)

Cyberbullying wallet cards for students (email cle@vla.vic.gov.au to order copies)





Technology

A laptop and projector to show the PowerPoint presentation.

Time allocation

This session plan is for 60 minutes. You can adapt this to suit the different needs of different student groups and the time available.

If your session is longer than 60 minutes, you can run extra activities. If it is shorter, consider running only one activity, and adjust the time allocated to each task.




Things to consider before you begin

Sensitive content

Sensitive content

The content of this session may be directly relevant for students who have had personal experiences relating to the topic and may trigger strong reactions or distress. The term rape may come up. If you are not the group’s usual classroom teacher, discuss this with the teacher beforehand.

Consider whether students can choose to sit out or leave during the session.

Consider the support a vulnerable student may need from relevant staff in the school or local services. Investigate contact details for local support services before the session.

Personal disclosures

Ask students not to discuss personal details and situations in the session. It is important to create an open environment where students feel free to ask questions, but personal disclosures may be subject to mandatory reporting requirements and should be left for private discussion.



Using real life examples

If you are a lawyer, use real life stories from your own work where possible (without disclosing any client information). This will illuminate the law and engage students in discussion.



School policies on bullying

If possible, familiarise yourself with the school’s policy on bullying before the session, so you can refer to the policy and engage students with it throughout the session.


Session plan


Introduction

Materials


Time allocation: 5 minutes

Introduce yourself and the session

Define bullying: repeated physical, psychological, social or verbal attack, often by those in a position of power, with the intention of causing distress.

Define cyberbullying: any form of bullying that uses online communications or mobile phones.

Lay the ground rules

Ask that students do not share any personal information or experiences. If they need advice about a specific situation, they should speak to a teacher or support service afterwards.

Acknowledge that this session may upset some students. Those students may choose not to participate in the session.


Slide 1: Cyberbullying

Legal background notes page 13



Explain why this information is important

Discuss one of the news articles provided in the legal background notes.

Discuss a case or example of cyberbullying that you know about and explain the legal consequences. Do not use any details that may identify people involved.

Acknowledge that the law as it relates to cyberbullying may change in the near future.



Slide 2: Real life examples

Legal background notes page 13

Observations from your own work




Activity: Is this bullying?

Materials


Time allocation: 10 minutes

Divide students in to groups of three or four. Ask each group to pick one of the statements below and discuss whether they think the scenario constitutes bullying, and why or why not.

Ask students to consider who can see what they’re sending or posting in each scenario, how this could make the person feel, and what their school’s bullying policy is.

After five minutes of discussion, ask the groups to report their answers back to the class.

Your friend sends you an embarrassing photo of one of the girls at his school. You think it’s funny so you forward it to everyone in your address book.

A new student at your school has a speech impediment and you anonymously create a meme about him on your school’s memes page. This starts a frenzy of posts about this student’s impediment.

Your friend gets drunk at a party and you post a photo of her on your Facebook page without her permission. She asks you to take it down but you don’t.

You set up a fake email address for one of the students at your school and use it to send love letters to another classmate as a joke.



Slide 3: Is this bullying?




What does the law say?

Materials

Time allocation: 20 minutes

What is cyberbullying?

Revisit the definition of cyberbullying above, provide some examples and discuss how cyberbullying can affect the victim.

What offences relate to cyberbullying?

using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence (carriage services include phones and the internet)

making threats

assault

stalking


unauthorised access to password-protected information

discrimination and sexual harassment.



Teachers’ and employers’ responsibilities

Teachers and employers also have legal obligations to create safe environments.



Slide 4: What does the law say?

Legal background notes page 14




What can happen legally?

How is bullying resolved?

Every Victorian school has a bullying policy, with different penalties.

Dispute resolution, such as mediation, may help to resolve the problem.

The police may get involved. They may interview the person accused of bullying, and the accused may have to go to court. Possible penalties and consequences for the bully include:


  • court

  • prison

  • criminal record.

Slide 5: What can happen legally?

Legal background notes page 16




What can you do?

If you are being bullied online you can:



  • tell someone you trust

  • block the bully

  • contact support services

  • contact the police if you fear for your safety.

Slide 6: What can you do?

Legal background notes page 17






Where can you get help?

Materials


Time allocation: 5 minutes

Hand out Cyberbullying wallet cards to students. There is blank space on the cards to add contact details of other local services.

Refer to the contact details listed in the legal background notes and on the wallet cards to explain how to get help.

If someone is being bullied, they can:


  • tell someone they trust

  • contact support services such as Kids Helpline, Victims Support Agency, Centre Against Sexual Assault

  • contact a dispute resolution service such as Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria

  • contact a legal service such as Victoria Legal Aid, Youthlaw or a local community legal centre.

Slide 7: Where can you get help?

Copies of Cyberbullying wallet cards

Legal background notes page 17





Activities

Materials

Time allocation: 15 minutes

Select one activity from the Cyberbulying activities. If time permits, run two activities.

Divide the class into groups of three to four. Each group should have a note-taker and a reporter.

After 10 minutes ask students to report their answers. Select a different group to answer each question.

Refer to the legal background notes and activity answers for correct answers.


Slide 8: Activity

Legal background notes page 20-21



Copies of Cyberbullying activities

Pens and paper





Key messages

Materials

Time allocation: 5 minutes

Reiterate key messages of the session by asking the following questions. Refer to the legal background notes for extra information and correct answers.

What laws can cyberbullying break?

Using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend

Making threats

Stalking


Discrimination and sexual harassment.

What can you do if you are being bullied or someone you know is being bullied?

Block the bully, tell an adult you trust, try dispute resolution.

Who else has a responsibility to stop bullying?

Teachers, schools and employers have a responsibility to take action. Schools have bullying policies in place.

Where can you go for help?

Kids Helpline, Victoria Legal Aid, Youthlaw, a community legal centre, CASA, Victims Support Agency, Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.


Slide 9: What have you learned?



Legal background notes: Cyberbullying

What is cyberbullying?

Bullying can be defined as a repeated physical, psychological, social or verbal attack, often by those in a position of power, with the intention of causing distress for their own gain or satisfaction. It is when someone behaves in a way towards another person or group of people to upset them or damage their property, reputation or acceptance by others.

Bullying may involve direct physical or verbal abuse or indirect acts that are designed to harm a person's social reputation and/or cause humiliation and distress. Bullying can happen anywhere and anyone can be a bully, even a family member or someone you’ve had a close relationship with.

Legally, cyberbullying is the same thing as bullying.

Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that uses online communication or mobile phones. It can include texts, phone calls, instant messages, blogs, chat, social media posts and comments on websites. Some examples are:

posting mean messages or pics, or excluding someone online

making threats to someone online or using email, texting or instant messaging

someone tricking another person about his or her identity online

online stalking (stalking is when a person repeatedly does something to cause physical or mental harm to someone else, including causing someone to self-harm or fear for their safety or someone else’s safety)

spreading personal information, photos, or secrets online or using email, SMS or instant messaging

sending offensive messages to someone online or using email, texting or instant messaging.


If you are a victim of cyberbullying it can be hard to avoid or ignore because it can occur anytime and anywhere. Bullies can remain anonymous online and the audience can be huge.

Real life examples


Man avoids jail in first cyber bullying case: The Age, 9 April 2010:
A 21-year-old Victorian man pleaded guilty to stalking, and received a community-based order from the court after sending threatening text messages to a former friend who ended his own life. He narrowly escaped jail in what was Australia’s first prosecution of cyberbullying. The man said he did not realise the effect of his words, and the magistrate at court warned that the case showed that SMS messages or internet communication can have severe consequences on intended victims, whether they were meant to or not.

Textual offender lands probation: Warwick Daily News, 13 August 2010
A 20-year-old Queensland man pleaded guilty in court to using a mobile phone to menace, harass or cause offence when he sent a series of abusive text messages to his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. After breaking up, she refused to pay rent that she owed him. He got angry and sent more than a dozen messages threatening her and her new boyfriend. He also sent Facebook messages.

Brodie’s Law: In 1996, 19-year-old Brodie Panlock committed suicide after serious, relentless bullying at the café where she worked. In 2011 the government introduced Brodie’s Law, which extended the definition of stalking to include behaviour that could cause a person to self-harm. Serious bullying can fall under this definition. The crime of stalking is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Possible changes to the law around cyberbullying

In 2014, the Federal Government sought a discussion paper seeking public comment on improving online safety for children. Future outcomes of this consultation may include establishing a Children’s e-safety Commissioner, developing a complaints system to remove harmful material from social media sites, and a specific cyberbullying offence.

What laws relate to cyberbullying?


Acts of cyberbullying can break many different laws. There are Victorian laws and Commonwealth (national) laws that might apply to cyberbullying.

Use of carriage services


There are Commonwealth laws about using ‘carriage services’. This is an old-fashioned way of saying landlines, mobiles, text messages and the internet. It is a crime to use carriage services in a way that a reasonable person would find menacing, harassing or offensive. Breaking this law can result in up to three years in prison.

Threats

It can also be an offence to threaten someone. For example, if someone sends another person messages saying ‘I’m gonna kill you’, and they intended to make that person fear the threat would be carried out. It is also an offence if the person making the threat didn’t really care if the recipient would fear that the threat would be carried out.

The penalties for making threats will depend on what is being threatened. Making a threat to kill can carry a penalty of ten years’ imprisonment under Victorian law. Making a threat to inflict serious injury can mean five years’ imprisonment.

If a carriage service is used to make a threat to kill, Commonwealth law might apply and it could result in ten years’ imprisonment. If a carriage service is used to make a threat to cause serious harm to someone, it could result in seven years’ imprisonment. Whether the person receiving the threats actually feared they would be carried out is irrelevant under Commonwealth law.

Stalking


Stalking means doing a series of things with the intention of causing physical or mental harm to the victim, including causing a victim to self-harm, or causing the person to fear for their safety or someone else’s safety. Stalking can include repeated actions such as following someone, posting things on the internet about them, harassing phone calls, threats and sexting.

In 2011 the Victorian Government changed the stalking laws in a change known as Brodie’s law.The changes to the law mean that if a bully’s actions cause the bullied person to self-harm, then the bully can be punished with up to ten years in prison. This law applies to bullying at work and at school.


Assault


Forms of bullying that involve physical violence could be assault, which is a crime. Assaults can also be non-physical, for example, putting someone in fear.

Unauthorised access to password-protected information


There are also laws against unauthorised access to password-protected information – for example, hacking into someone’s Facebook account. This could carry a penalty of two years’ imprisonment, or more if the information is accessed to commit a serious crime.

Discrimination

Discrimination and occupational health and safety laws also exist to create fair and safe common spaces like schools and workplaces. These laws make sure that people are not treated unfairly at work, school or certain areas of life just because they were born with or have certain attributes such as their sex, race, religion, sexuality, or belonging to a political party.

One example of bullying that may be discriminatory is: if a bully is threatening to ‘out’ someone at school or work who is same-sex attracted, making it unbearable for the bullied person to be at school or work. The school or employer could get into legal trouble. Schools and workplaces should have their own policies or processes for dealing with bullying.

Sexual harassment


Sexual harassment is when someone makes an unwelcome sexual advance or request, or other behaviour of a sexual nature, and it is reasonable that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated. This can include saying sexual things to a person, making sexual gestures to them, or subjecting them to an act of physical intimacy.

In schools, it is against the law for a teacher or staff member to sexually harass a student. It is also against the law for a student to sexually harass another student, a teacher or a staff member at a school.

Sexual harassment is also against the law in the workplace. It is unlawful for a boss to sexually harass an employee or potential employee, or for anyone at work to sexually harass a colleague.

Teachers’ and employers’ duty of care responsibilities


Teachers and employers can also get into trouble for bullying.

Teachers and employers have obligations under occupational health and safety laws to create safe environments free from bullying for students or employees. If a teacher or employer fails to act to stop bullying from happening, this could mean they are being negligent. The school or workplace could get into trouble. All Victorian state schools have policies for dealing with bullying.


What can happen legally?

How is bullying resolved?


Every Victorian state school has a bullying policy in place, so most incidents of bullying are resolved or dealt with by the school and usually no-one outside of the school becomes involved.

How might the police get involved?

If the bullying is serious enough the person being bullied, or a friend or family member, may approach the police. Teachers or employers may also approach police if they feel that they are unable to provide a safe environment and that a student or employee is at risk. They may want to show the police evidence of the bullying. If you are a victim of bullying, keep messages or evidence as proof of the bullying – do not delete them.

Court orders and dispute resolution

In some cases where a victim of bullying feels very unsafe, they may apply for a personal safety intervention order. This is a court order made to protect people from harm in certain serious circumstances. Before these orders are made, the court may refer you to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria to try to resolve the dispute out of court. If the bully and the victim of bullying have a family relationship the victim may apply for a family violence intervention order instead.

What happens to the accused?

In serious cases of bullying amounting to stalking or assault, police may interview the person suspected of committing the crime, referred to as ‘the accused’. If the police believe they have a strong case against the accused, they can take that person to court. At court, a magistrate, judge or jury decides whether the person is guilty of breaking the law. They must only decide that a person is guilty if satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the person is guilty of the offence.

If the accused is found guilty, there can be serious consequences. This could include getting a criminal record or a jail sentence.

Throughout the process of speaking to police and going to court, the accused person has a right to be treated fairly by the police and a right to speak with a lawyer before being interviewed. They also have the right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair trial.

How might this affect that person in the future?


Getting a criminal record or a jail sentence could make it hard to get certain jobs. It may also make it hard to travel overseas in the future.

What can you do if you are being bullied?


Tell someone. No-one deserves to be bullied and victims of bullying don’t have to deal with it alone. Teachers have been trained to deal with bullying. If someone is being bullied they can tell a teacher, a trusted adult or family member. They can also contact support services, or the police.

If someone is bullying online, it is best not to respond to their bad behaviour. It can also be a good idea to block the bully.


Where can you get help?


There are many organisations that can give young people confidential advice and support.

Counselling and support:

Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)

You can contact a CASA 24 hours a day, seven days a week for crisis counselling, support, information and advocacy. Your call will be directed to the CASA in your region.

Tel: 1800 806 292

Website: www.casa.org.au



Kids Helpline

Free, private and confidential telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between five and 25.

Tel: 1800 551 800

Website: www.kidshelp.com.au



Victims Support Agency

Information about how a victim can be supported throughout the police and court stages, and also about compensation.

Tel: 1800 819 817

Website: www.justice.vic.gov.au/victimsofcrime


Legal and dispute resolution information and advice:


Victoria Legal Aid

Free legal help over the phone, Monday to Friday, 8.45 am to 5.15 pm.

Tel: 1300 792 387

Website: www.legalaid.vic.gov.au



Youthlaw

Free legal service for people under 25.

Tel: 9611 2412

Website: www.youthlaw.asn.au



Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria

Free mediation and dispute resolution.

Tel: 1800 658 528

Website: www.disputes.vic.gov.au



Local community legal centre

Community legal centres give free legal advice. Call the Federation of Community Legal Centres or visit their website to find your nearest community legal centre.

Tel: 9652 1500

Website: www.communitylaw.org.au



Lawstuff

Legal information and email advice service for children and young people.

Website: www.lawstuff.org.au

Additional resources

Legal information


Victoria Legal Aid

Publications

These publications are free. You can order up to 50 copies at a time from the Victoria Legal Aid website.



Am I old enough?
Booklet for young people about what the law will or will not let them do.
Order free copies at: www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/free-publications-and-resources/am-i-old-enough-common-legal-issues-for-young-people

Services for people affected by crime


Produced by the Victims Support Agency of the Department of Justice. Gives information about the different services available in Victoria that can help anyone affected by crime.

Order free copies at: www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/free-publications-and-resources/services-for-people-affected-by-crime

Legal Help card

A wallet-sized brochure about our services. In English and 25 languages.
Order free copies at: www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/free-publications-and-resources/victoria-legal-aid-help-card-english

Web pages

Bullying online or at school: http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/discrimination-harassment-and-bullying/bullying-online-or-school

Discrimination, harassment and bullying: http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/discrimination-harassment-and-bullying

Going to court for a criminal offence: www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/going-to-court-for-criminal-charge

Police powers: www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/police-powers-and-your-rights

Contact us: www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/contact-us

Fitzroy Legal Service – Victorian Law Handbook website

Bullying and assault: http://www.lawhandbook.org.au/handbook/ch06s03s03.php

Courts: www.lawhandbook.org.au/handbook/ch01s02.php

Advice directory: www.lawhandbook.org.au/handbook/ch02s04.php

Youthlaw


Youthlaw has online fact sheets on a variety of topics: http://youthlaw.asn.au/resources/factsheets-2/

Non-legal resources


Safe and Supportive School Communities
Bullying. No Way! – Take a stand together has useful information and interactive activities for students, teachers and parents: www.takeastandtogether.gov.au

Cybersmart


Cybersmart is a national cybersafety and cybersecurity education program managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority: www.cybersmart.gov.au

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

Bully Stoppers supports students, parents, teachers and principals to reduce the incidence of bullying: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/bullystoppers/Pages/default.aspx

Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria

Relationships – Love, the good, the bad, the ugly is a website that helps identify whether you are in an unhealthy relationship and where to get help: http://lovegoodbadugly.com/

Safe Schools Coalition Victoria


Provides free training, resources and consultancy for schools on sexual and gender diversity: www.sscv.org.au

Activity answers: Cyberbullying


These are the correct responses to the Cyberbullying activities in Sex, young people and the law. Activity sheets for students, which need to be printed, are available at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/sex-young-people-law

Activity one – Out

Case study: Jimi is 13 and in year 7, and he’s starting to question his sexual orientation. Oscar goes through Jimi’s phone and sees that Jimi has been browsing a lot of same-sex forums on the web. Oscar starts sending Jimi texts about Jimi being a fag, and Oscar threatens to out Jimi unless Jimi gives him money each week. As well, most lunchtimes Oscar and his friends surround Jimi in the schoolyard and call him names and threaten to bash him after school. Jimi is depressed, hates looking at his phone and often refuses to go to school.

Question 1: What are Jimi’s rights?

Jimi has the right to explore his sexual orientation without fear of persecution or bullying from others. Jimi has the right to be provided with a safe learning environment.

Question 2: What does the law say about bullying for the school and for the person doing the bullying?

The school and the teachers have an obligation to create a safe environment for students. If a school fails to act to stop bullying from happening they could get into trouble with the law.

If the bully’s behaviour is ongoing and he or she has the intention of causing physical or mental harm to the victim or causing them to fear for their safety, the bully may be charged with stalking or assault.

Question 3: What does the law say about discrimination?

In this situation, discrimination laws may protect Jimi. Discrimination laws are designed to ensure that people are not treated unfairly at work or school, or in certain areas of life, just because they were born with or have certain attributes such as sex, race, religion, sexuality or belonging to a political party. The school has an obligation to keep the school free from discrimination and establish a process to manage complaints of discrimination.

Question 4: Where can Jimi go for help?

Jimi can contact Youthlaw (9611 2412), Victoria Legal Aid (1300 792 387) or his nearest community legal centre.

He can also contact the Gay and Lesbian switchboard on 9663 2939 for counselling and advice.

Activity two – Mediation


Case study: Because of the bullying, Jimi’s mum goes to the police. The police advise her to apply for a personal safety intervention order. Before the court will give an intervention order, the magistrate refers the matter to mediation to see if it can be resolved outside of court.

Question 1: What is the importance of getting the matter resolved? If this matter is unresolved, what impact does it have on Jimi and Oscar when they are back at school?

Jimi’s self-confidence may keep plummeting, which may impact on his school work and possible completion of school. He may face problems due to wagging school and have trouble with finding employment later on in life due to poor results at school. Jimi’s capacity to build relationships could be severely affected in the future.

Oscar may be constantly getting into trouble with the teachers and that may deter him from pursuing his school work properly. He might get a lot of pressure from home as a result and that may further spiral into bad behaviour leading to suspension and expulsion. He faces the possibility of having a criminal record for bullying.

Question 2: If the matter is unresolved and Jimi is granted an intervention order, what impact will that have on Oscar?

The order will have rules (called ‘conditions’). If Oscar breaches the conditions of the order, it will end up on his criminal record. This can affect his ability to get into certain courses and jobs.

Oscar may be banned from certain areas like parks, friends’ parties and the local shops if Jimi is also going to be in these areas.

Question 3: What are Jimi’s needs?

Jimi wants to feel safe. Jimi wants to be left alone and not bullied. He wants friends at school who are not going to make fun of him. He wants to go to school. He may need support to help him get these things.

Question 4: What are Oscar’s needs?


Oscar wants to save his image as the ‘tough guy’ in school. He does not want to get into trouble for what he sees as just having a bit of fun. He does not want the intervention order to be granted. Oscar may need support to help him understand the impact of his behaviour and change his behaviour.








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