Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Local Mother Poised to Flee; A Campaign of Vicious Bullying Via the Web Prompts One Woman to Consider Leaving Town

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Local Mother Poised to Flee; A Campaign of Vicious Bullying Via the Web Prompts One Woman to Consider Leaving Town

Article excerpt

Byline: Saffron Howden saffron.howden@northernstar.com.au

POLICE are investigating allegations a Northern Rivers mother has been harassed, stalked and bullied on the social networking site, Facebook.

The accusations coincide with the release of a new a report into cyberbullying, which found that social networking sites were the most common online vehicle for bullying - ahead of chat rooms and email.

The woman, from just outside Lismore, has become so distressed by the experience, she is considering taking her children and leaving.

She told The Northern Star she was approached in December through Facebook by someone using a pseudonym.

They tried to ingratiate themselves with her by sharing information they knew would interest her.

When she became suspicious, it turned nasty.

The woman blocked the person as a friend on her Facebook profile, but they had already identified all the people listed as her friends on the site and began sending messages to them.

"They said: 'I'm closer than you think' and 'I'm watching you'.

"Quite serious stuff, like everybody hates me and I should kill myself."

She formally reported the matter to police on Friday.

The experience has been upsetting for her and her young children, she said.

"Facebook is going to be a huge vehicle for bullying and stalking because of the anonymity they've got and they can do this bullying on a massive scale," she said.

"It needs to be made fairly clear, as far as policing goes, that it's not appropriate behaviour," she said.

If the perpetrator was positively identified, she said she may be able to take out an apprehended violence order (AVO) against them.

Richmond Crime Commander Inspector Steve Clarke said it was difficult for police to take action in bullying cases, online or otherwise, until the actions constituted criminal behaviour. …

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