What can you do about harassing texting?
A lot of personal communication these days is done by way of text. When separation occurs, texting can often increase in frequency and intensity. So, if it is too much, what can you do?
What is it?
Cyberstalking can include:
- repeatedly contacting a person by calling, emailing, texting, messaging or sending offensive material.
- monitoring your movements (surveillance and GPS tracking) and using apps or spyware on your phone.
- threatening or committing acts of violence against someone.
- catfishing – where someone poses as someone else.
- sharing intimate photos/videos online.
The above acts are just some examples of an ex-partner attempting to exert their power. Remember that this behaviour is not okay and, if you are the recipient of it, it is not your fault.
Unlawful Stalking is a criminal offence in all States and Territories in Australia. Cyberstalking is also considered an act of domestic violence.
Domestic violence occurs where one person in a relationship uses violence or abuse to control another person. Victims of domestic violence are often victims of cyberstalking. Domestic Violence Orders (‘DVO’) seek to prevent further violence occurring between people.
Cyberstalking can also constitute a breach of a DVO. A breach of a DVO is a criminal offence and may lead to a criminal conviction.
If the stalker is a current or former spouse or de facto partner or a relative by blood or marriage, you should seek legal advice about obtaining a domestic violence order.
Visit the Queensland Police Service website for advise on how to record stalking incidents.
If you are experiencing cyberstalking, you should contact the police and reach out to a trusted family member or friend. During this difficult time, it is important that you receive the support you need. It is also important to remember that this behaviour is not okay.
- Report it – to the police, your friends and family!
- If you feel safe doing so, clearly tell them to stop harassing you.
- Remove the amount of information you have on the web (ie, remove date of birth and location off Facebook and Instagram).
- Protect your password: create a complex password on all devices and change them regularly.
- Save everything as it could be used as evidence later.
- Speak with your phone provider (Telstra, Optus etc) as they have systems in place to protect your privacy.
- Switch off location services on your phone.
- If you believe your phone/computer is being monitored, set up new accounts.
Wait… I might be unintentionally cyberstalking my partner
Stalking and cyberstalking are classified as an ‘unintentional offence’, meaning it doesn’t matter if you intend for the person to feel intimidated or afraid – it is still a crime.
You may not realise that your actions, including repeated Facebook messages, checking your partner’s phone, tracking movements through an application are causing your partner to feel fear. The Queensland Government has advice that you can refer to it if you feel your behaviour is controlling.
If you use violence in your relationship, here are the links to get help.
- Know your emergency numbers. You can call 000 or your local police station. If you need housing in a women’s refuge, call DV Connect 1800 811 811.
- Contact 1800Respect (1800 737 732) to have a safety plan put in place.
- The Brisbane Domestic Violence Service has information and resources.
- The Queensland Courts website has information on support services, going to court, and help stopping the violent behaviour.
- What is cyberstalking?
If you have any questions about this article, email us at [email protected]