The Tasmania Law Reform Institute has released Final Report No 22, Bullying. The Report considers what role the law should play in responding to all types of bullying behaviours including cyber-bullying and questions whether the current legal regime in Tasmania can provide appropriate redress for victims.
The Report makes 15 recommendations. Together, the recommendations are designed to create a tiered response to bullying consisting of:
· a criminal justice response reserved for the most serious examples which extends the offence of stalking in the Criminal Code to cover common bullying behaviours. The Report also recommends changes to the Justices Act to facilitate applications for restraint orders on the grounds of bullying.
· a civil justice response which seeks solutions through mediation and restorative justice practices. The Report recommends incorporating a mediation procedure into the restraint order process, or extending the jurisdiction of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to deal with complaints of bullying. Recommendations are also made to ensure that all Tasmanian workers have access to workplace bullying complaint processes.
· the development of legislative requirements for schools to implement anti-bullying policies and procedures. Policies should address the best interests of all children involved, whether those children are involved as victims, participants or bystanders.
The Report can also be accessed at: http://www.utas.edu.au/law-reform/