Cyberbullying and the role of the law in Australian schools: Views of senior officials

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Australian Journal of Education


Australian Council for Education Research


School of Education / Office of the Vice-Chancellor




Young, H., Campbell, M., Spears, B., Butler, D., Cross, D., & Slee, P. (2016). Cyberbullying and the role of the law in Australian schools: Views of senior officials. Australian Journal of Education, 60(1), 86-101.

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This study examined the opinions of influential, authoritative employees from the education and legal systems, regarding their perceptions of the role of the law and cyberbullying in Australian schools. Participants were asked whether they thought a specific law for cyberbullying should be introduced, what particular behaviours, if any, should be criminalised and who should be involved. Participants were located across three Australian States. Thematic analysis was used to identify eight main themes within the data, namely (1) uses of the law in general, (2) introduction of a law for cyberbullying, (3) benefits and difficulties of criminalising cyberbullying for young people, (4) conditions for a cyberbullying law for young people, (5) who should be involved in a cyberbullying law, (6) legal sanctions thought to be appropriate, (7) educational and legal solutions and (8) educational interventions for student cyberbullying. Implications include increasing the awareness of how existing legislative responses can be used as deterrents, working towards more effective cooperation of education and legal systems.



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