Help and advice about
Cyberbullying and eCRIME

Cyberbullying and eCRIME

eCrime is any form of Cyberbullying using technology. This includes trolling, mobbing, stalking, grooming or any form of abuse down the line.


Over half of the UK's 12 to 15 year olds have faced some form of bullying, including Cyberbullying over the last year. Research by the National Centre for Social Research found that 47% of young people reported being bullied at the age of 14. The same study showed that girls are more likely to be bullied, than boys, in that same age group.


Cyberbullying is most certainly on the increase - more and more cases are being reported to our helpline by children and by extremely worried parents.


We are focusing on this very serious issue and we are working closely with The Police, Facebook and other IT service providers, to work towards eliminating this unacceptable behavior. If you are a parent, take positive steps to protect your child when s/he uses a mobile phone or the computer.  There is a great deal you can do to safeguard your child.


We have been using the terminology ‘eCRIME’ for many years now because we believe it describes all forms of on-line abuse.  Already the Police and others are adopting the term eCRIME when they talk about Cyberbullying.


The ACPO Badge

National Policing Lead for ACPO Communication Advisory Group Chief Constable Andy Trotter said: “People may think they can remain anonymous when they are online, that they can hide, say and do things they wouldn’t dream of doing in real life without consequences or being found out; this is not the case.


“Reports of credible threats and communications made over social media that specifically target an individual and constitute harassment will be taken very seriously by the police and investigated.  Please call your local police force on 101 if you think you are being harassed or threatened online.”

Example of ecrime, a mobile phone showing abusive messages from a bully

Types of Cyberbullying and eCRIME

Cyberbullying and eCRIME are any forms of anti-social behaviour over the internet or via a mobile device.  It is an attack or abuse, using technology, which is intended to cause another person harm, distress or personal loss. This could include

Spreading malicious and abusive rumours

Emailing/texting threatening/intimidating remarks

Trolling someone

Mobbing an individual

Harassing someone repeatedly

Intimidation and blackmail

Stalking or continually harassing someone

Posting humiliating images without consent

Setting up a false information online

Posting someone else’s private details on-line.

Identity fraud or identity theft

Fraud or deception over the internet


The forums and tools used often vary and include a range of electronic devices often linked to forums or chat rooms.  The tool may be a computer or laptop, a mobile phone, a camera or recording device, a tablet or games-console or simply email or mobile text messaging.  Typically, the bullies use Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other interactive forums to target an individual or group.


Without doubt, ever-changing technology is driving the need for the introduction of new tougher, clearer, legislation to protect targets of cyberbullying.  We are already seeing changes in law linked to Cyberbullying.


More Information

If you would like to know more about the types of eCRIME and how to respond to online bullying, click the link below to our ecrime-action website.

More Information


Parents, you have a role to play. Remember, the police can often trace the perpetrators. You need to check that your child is safe and that they take care. Check their sites and monitor their browsing and mail content periodically. Sit down and talk to your child about his or her concerns.


Criminal Charges may be brought under The Harassment Act and other legislation that is there to protect you and your child.  Talk to your family and those who you trust.  A problem shared is a problem halved !


If you ever come across anything on the internet that makes you feel uncomfortable, no matter where it is, pleas e report it.

Be Cyber-Savvy in all your on-line activities. Teach your children how to be Cyber-Savvy. Being Cyber-Savvy is the new "Don't talk to strangers"

Someone you know is bullying you on-line

Someone you know is bullying you on-line guide cover image

If someone has posted false,

malicious or private things about you

online and you believe the cyberbully is someone you know or used to be friends with, this can be very distressing. Understand what you can do and how to persuade the perpetrator to stop.

More Information

The Law

If a person is committing and act of Cyberbullying they may be committing a criminal offence under a number of different laws.


The Law is changing all the time.  Inappropriate use of technology is driving an urgent need for new, sharper, enforceable, laws.


We are campaigning currently to get all laws combined to make a stronger piece of legislation to address all forms of eCRIME.  Celebrity, Katie Price, is calling on Government to introduce a cyberbullying law to be named after her son, HARVEY.  She is calling for new eCRIME legislation to be called HARVEYS LAW.


Whilst we commend Katie for speaking out, and any campaigning is good in terms of raising awareness, we would like to see new, stronger, legislation called The eCRIME ACT.


Future on-line crime including sabotage of business to business using technology, any inappropriate surveillance & the application of any nuisance App with intent to cause anxiety, distress or harm.


  • The Protection from Harassment Act
  • The Malicious Communications Act 1988
  • The Communications Act 2003
  • Obscene Publications Act 1959
  • Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • Cyberbullying in the Workplace.
  • Health and Safety and Duty of Care laws


Bullying does not discriminate, we are all potential targets. No one person is immune to Cyberbullying either. Both individuals and organisations may be susceptible to Cyberbullying which targets an individual or an organisation is Cyberbullying.


We are hearing about some very serious cases of on-line abuse associated with the workplace.  APP’S are being used to stalk a person (SPYWARE for example), or place a person under surveillance without their knowledge or consent.


eCRIME in the workplace is an increasing, very serious, problem that employers are struggling with. It is reported that bullying in the workplace costs UK employers in excess of £2bn per annum in litigation, investigation costs, lost productivity and sick pay.  We think the figure is probably higher.  So, this new anti-social behaviour on line is not helping.


There is legislation that covers areas closely associated with eCRIME and Cyberbullying. In this section we look at some of the laws that are in place to protect you.

  • The Protection From Harassment Act 1997
  • The Malicious Communications Act 1988
  • The Communications Act 2003
  • The Obscene Publications Act 1959
  • The Public Order Act 1986
  • The Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • The Health & Safety At Work Act 1974
The Protection From Harassment Act 1997

The Protection From Harassment Act 1997

Under The Protection from Harassment Act it is a criminal offence to commit an act of Cyberbullying with intent to harass another person or which the perpetrator knows, or reasonably ought to know, amounts to the harassment of another person.


6-months Imprisonment

A person found guilty of this behaviour could face imprisonment of up to 6 months, or receive a financial penalty, or both.


Up to 5 years imprisonment

Section 4 of the Act provides the potential for greater punishment to those found guilty o f causing another person to believe, on two or more occasions, that violence will be used against them. A person found guilty of this offence could face up to 5 years imprisonment.


Restraining Orders

The 1997 Act also gives Courts powers to grant Restraining Orders against those found guilty of one of the above offenses.

The Malicious Communications Act 1988

The Malicious Communications Act 1988

Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 states that it is an offence for any person to send a communication that is “indecent or grossly offensive” with the intent of “causing distress or anxiety to the recipient” and this includes threats and information which is false or known or believed to be false by the sender of the communication.

6-months Imprisonment and/or £5,000 fine

A person found guilty of this behaviour could face imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of up to £5,000 or both.

The Communications Act 2003

The Communications Act 2003

Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 states that it is a criminal offence to send comments electronically which are deemed “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.


6-months Imprisonment or a fine

If found guilty a person can receive up to 6 months imprisonment, a fine or both.

Obscene Publications Act 1959

Obscene Publications Act 1959

This is an old piece of legislation which still applies today.  It is an offence to publish an obscene article intended to deprave or corrupt persons likely to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in the article.  Publishing includes; circulating, showing, playing or projecting the article or transmitting that data.

The Public Order Act 1986

The Public Order Act 1986

Under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 it is an offence to use threating, abusive or insulting words, behaviour, writing or any visual representation likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress within the hearing or sight of a person.  With regards to Cyberbullying, this offence could apply where a camera or video functionality now found on the vast majority of mobile phones is used as a way of causing such harassment, alarm or distress.

The Computer Misuse Act 1990

The Computer Misuse Act 1990

If, during the course of an act of eCRIME (cyberbullying) a person hacks into the victim’s online accounts or personal computer, they may be committing an offence under this piece of legislation.

The Health & Safety At Work Act 1974

The Health & Safety At Work Act 1974

Under the Health and Safety Act at Work 1974, all employers have a Duty of Care to provide employees with a safe working environment.  If an employee can prove they are a target of eCRIME in the workplace, by colleagues using Company technology (computers, mobiles etc)., the employer may be in breach of their duty to protect employees under The Health & Safety at Work Act.


In such a case (described above) an employee is advised to raise a formal complaint ie: a Stage 1 Grievance.  Refer to the Company Harassment and Grievance Policies and trigger the formal process.

The National Bullying Helpline try and provide FREE, confidential, unconditional, help and advice.

We will give you option and choice and we will not record your call. Whilst we do everything we can to help our callers, occasionally there are circumstances where we are unable to help due to limited resources and expertise.  You may need to seek advice from a specialise expert.


It is our Policy not to get involved in a dispute you may be having with; • The Police • The Courts or Legal System • Your GP or the NHS • Local Authority. In those cases we recommend you seek advice from your local MP or a Solicitor.

Call us if you need further advice or go to

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