Is bullying or cyberbullying illegal?
s Bullying or Cyberbullying illegal?
Bullying is just another name for harassment or stalking. If someone is bullying or harassing someone they can be prosecuted. In England and Wales the age of criminal responsibility is 10. So, anyone over the age of 10 that threatens, commits an assault or harasses someone, could be committing a criminal offence.
That means if the person bullying you is over the age of 10 you can go to the police and make a complaint. Sometimes, the police are reluctant to take the complaint but you do have the right to insist that they take your complaint and issue a crime number.
Bullies can be prosecuted under the Harassment Act 1997. This law only requires two incidents to occur before the police can act. If the bullying is severe it could be considered stalking and could be prosecuted under the UK stalking laws.They can also be prosecuted under the Malicious Communications Act if they send harassing or threatening messages via text, email, letter, social networks, a phone call or voice mail.
If someone has been physical assaulted or threaten with physical violence it should also be taken seriously. Victims should contact their local police and report it.
Schools and the police can be reluctant to take action but if your child is being badly abused and you are worried then pursue it. If they have been threatened, assaulted or is being harassed then you have a right to pursue the matter with the police. If the police officer won't take a complaint ask to speak to a more senior officer. Also contact Childline for additional advice and support.
There may be other offences such as criminal damage or theft that the police may also consider.