Tasmania tackles cyber-stalkers

The Tasmanian government is introducing legislation to extend laws against stalking to the online world. Denison MHA David Bartlett said the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code would expand the current descriptions of what constitutes stalking.

The Tasmanian government is introducing legislation to extend laws against stalking to the online world.

Denison MHA David Bartlett said the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code would expand the current descriptions of what constitutes stalking.

"The existing provisions in the Criminal Code Act make no mention of computers, the Internet or e-mails. We intend to make it clear that using any electronic communication with the intention of causing physical or mental harm, apprehension or fear, is an offence," Bartlett said.

He added that governments across Australia should recognise the threats brought by the changing technology environment and "adjust legislation accordingly so that the Internet is safe for all."

"By addressing issues such as cyber-stalking, the state government is monitoring and responding effectively to emerging changes in technology," Bartlett said.

Bartlett also said cyberspace was appealing to stalkers because it provided them with a means to communicate immediately and directly with their victims while maintaining a physical distance.

"But despite the non-physical nature of this crime, the effects of cyber-stalking on victims can be just as distressing as any other form of stalking. This behaviour can have serious and long-term impacts for the victims. The victimisation and intimidation of a person should not be tolerated just because the perpetrator was using the Internet or computer technology," he emphasised.

The legislation is expected to be introduced in the current session of Parliament.