You Can Do Something

Bullying is the act of causing someone harm physically or mentally - making someone fearful. Parents need to know that constantly making someone fearful is a serious offence.

If someone is threatening you or your child with harm to the point of making you or your child genuinely fearful, they are committing an offence. There are legal proceedings in every state of Australia designed to protect Australian citizens from this type of conduct. It may not apply in your circumstance but it is always worth looking into.

How to STOP Unwelcome Conduct

Unwelcome conduct is behaviour from another person that is just that - UNWELCOME. Bullying is unwelcome conduct. If it has gone 'beyond a joke' you need to act.

Step one: Is to make it very clear to the person that this is how you feel. Tell the person that you do not want this type of contact with them.

Step two: Is to put it in writing. Simply writing a 'cease and desist' letter is often sufficient. The purpose of the letter is to make it clear that the contact or conduct is unwelcome and that if it continues then legal proceedings may be initiated. 

Step Three: If the unwelcome conduct continues, a court order can be sought.

Bullies Can Be Restrained 

The type of order depends on the particular circumstances, but typically it restrains the person in question from:

1.  Stalking, assaulting, harassing, threatening or behaving offensively towards the affected person.

2.  Approaching, contacting, communicating with or following the affected person in any way.

3.  Being within a certain distance of any place where the affected person lives, works or regularly visits.

4.  Publishing any material about the affected person on the internet or by email or other electronic communication.

Although processes vary slightly between the jurisdictions, generally an application is made directly to the Magistrates' Court. An interim order can be sought immediately in most jurisdictions; these will usually be considered on the day the application is submitted. If granted, an interim order usually applies for a limited period with a date fixed (and advised to the respondent) for resolving the final order.

An interim order will be served on the respondent by a police officer. The application will be set for a hearing on a later date, when the Court will consider whether to make a final order.

Victoria:

In the Australian state of Victoria, you may want to look into applying for an Intervention Order.

To make a final order, the court must be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that 'stalking' has occurred and it is likely to continue.

NSW:

In the Australian state of New South Wales, you may want to look into applying for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) - The court may make an AVO where there are reasonable grounds for a person to fear, and does, in fact, fear:

·       personal violence or

·       conduct amounting to harassment or molestation or

·       intimidation (directed either at the person or their domestic partner) or

·       stalking.

Queensland:

In the Australian state of Queensland, you may want to look into applying for a Peace and Good Behaviour Order. This is an order that the defendant shall keep the peace and be of good behaviour - There is no civil order in Queensland similar to the orders made in other jurisdictions.

A Peace and Good Behaviour Order can be used to require a person to stop any activity that threatens to cause harm to a person, their property or any person under the person's care or charge. It does not cover harassment or verbal abuse.

It costs less than $100 to apply at any Magistrates Court and the first step is to convince a Justice of the Peace that your claim is valid.

Western Australia:

In the Australian state of Western Australia you may want to look into applying for a Restraining Order (Misconduct Restraining Order (MRO) or Violence Restraining Order (VRO) - A VRO is made by the court to restrain a person from committing an act of abuse, breaching the peace, causing fear, damaging property or intimidating another person. A VRO is made when an act of abuse has been, or is feared will be, committed.

A MRO is made by the court to restrain a person from breaching the peace, causing fear, damaging property or intimidating another person. A MRO may be issued when a person behaves in an intimidating or offensive manner, which may lead to a breach of the peace or damage to property. It only applies to people who are not in a domestic relationship.

South Australia:

In South Australia, you may want to look into applying for a Restraining Order - A person can apply for a Restraining Order when:

·       they have been injured by someone or

·       their property has been damaged by someone, and

·       they are afraid that this will happen again.

A person can also apply if, on at least two or more occasions, someone acts in a way that could reasonably make them fearful.

Tasmania:

In the Australian state of Tasmania, you may want to look into applying for Restraint Order. A Restraint Order may be made to restrain a person who has stalked a person and caused that person to feel apprehension or fear. Stalking has a broad definition and covers a wide range of conduct.

Northern Territory:

In  the Northern Territory in Australia you may want to investigate applying for a Personal Violence Order - Personal Violence Restraining Order A person can apply for a Personal Violence Restraining Order against a person if:

·       a person has committed a personal violence offence against them, or

·       it is likely a personal violence offence is going to be committed against them by a person (this includes stalking).

ACT:

In the Australian Capital Territory, you may want to look into a Personal Protection Order Personal. Protection Orders are available where a person has been the victim of:

·       personal injury and/or damage to property

·       a threat to cause personal injury and/or damage to property, or

·       harassing and or offensive behaviour.

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