Australia: SA Teenager Libby Bell’s Suicide Triggers Anti-Bullying Laws Review

SA Teenager Libby Bell’s Suicide Triggers Anti-Bullying Laws Review

Libby Bell, a 13-year old student of Seaford Secondary College, Australia, took away her life last week as a result of being bullied both at school and online.

 

Crystal Bell:

After the loss of her daughter, her mother Crystal Bell wrote on her Facebook account that “… I’m lost and empty…” “You were our rock … You have been an absolute joy and pleasure to raise…”

 

SA Police Commissioner:

  • The loss of Libby Bell was very tragic for her family and the community as well, said the South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens.
  • The Police Commissioner told ABC Radio Adelaide that if they had “something” to show that an offence could have been committed, then based on that suspicion an investigation could be conducted.
  • This will lead to talking to or involving the person(s) who is actually breaking the law.
  • He also said that under the existing laws, allegations of bullying could be charged with threatening harm or assault.
  • He also went on to say, the persistent but low-level bullying was comparatively harder for the police to respond and/or investigate.

 

When posed whether the bullying law could be changed, the Police Commissioner said, “I think … we should have a look at to see … if we will be able to prove a criminal offence.”

 

Brodie’s Law, 2011:

  • Earlier in 2011, following the suicide of 19-year old Brodie Panlock due to bullying from colleagues, the law was extended along with stalking offences to cover charges of serious bullying.
  • As a result, any workplace and online bullying could result in a 10-year jail sentence.

 

SA Education Department:

  • Meanwhile Ann-Marie Hayes, the South Australian Education Department’s executive, said that support systems were already in place for those who face bullying at school.
  • She has urged the students to take up such bullying issues with their teacher or any other member of the school’s staff.
  • She said that there are about 60 child wellbeing practitioners across the state and that they were looking at how this number can be further increased.

 

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