Police say victims of cyberbullying suffer in silence

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Hundreds of adults and teens continue to suffer in silence due to the actions of others who post false and offensive material about them on the Internet.
Corporal Owen Rigby, Cyber Forensic Investigator with the Royal Police Force of Antigua & Barbuda (RPFAB) said the incidents of cyberbullying in the country are extensive; however the crime is under-reported.
“It is very, very prevalent but it is not always reported to the police. Sometimes we just hear about it by the wayside,” Corporal Rigby said.
Senior Sergeant Marlon Proctor reminded the public that there was no need for victims to suffer in silence because cyberbullying is a crime punishable by law.
“The Electronics Crimes Act makes several offences in terms of posting material that is false, offensive or threatening or that causes annoyance to somebody else, whether on Facebook or Whatsapp,” he said. “The Act makes room for a stiff penalty where a person prosecuted in the magistrate’s court can be fined up to $200,000 or up to three years in prison or $500,000 or up to seven years in prison if prosecuted in the High Court,” the officer said.
The police said the cases of cyberbullying that are common to them include intimidation, threatenings, and name calling.
“One of the most frequent cases we get are from persons who were in a relationship that ended and either the male or female who was hurt takes the opportunity to get revenge by posting very private photographs or images on Facebook or WhatsApp,” Senior Sergeant Proctor said.
The police are assuring the public that the RPFAB is equipped to handle and investigate cyberbullying in its entirety even with the changing pace of technology. They are also advising anyone who may be a victim of the offence to make a report at the nearest police station.

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