Sussex

Brighton father calls for new cyber bullying laws

  • 8 March 2012
  • From the section Sussex

A Brighton father is calling for a change in the law after his daughter was a victim of cyber bullying.

The girl, who is now 12 years old, was sent bullying texts and messages on Facebook while at school.

Her father, Scott Freeman, has set up anonline petitioncalling for Parliament to consider making cyber bullying a crime.

The girl said the bullying started when she was 11 years old and she fell out with her best friend.

She said: "She turned on me, and not only did she turn on me, but she got other people involved and also got them to turn on me and it just got out of hand.

"I posted one status [on Facebook], within about one minute I had 63 comments on there, telling how people were going to kill me and to kill myself and if I don't kill myself they'll do it."

She said that she did not tell her parents out of fear of having her laptop and mobile phone taken away.

"At the time, it was like death was my only option for getting out. I hated everything about me because I had been put down so much," the girl said.

New start

Her attendance at school fell from 98% to 20% and she refused to turn on her computer or phone.

She then changed schools but the bullying continued, and she left Sussex and moved away for a new start.

Mr Freeman said: "It doesn't stop when they come home. With conventional bullying they feel safe when they come home."

He has set up an online petition calling for a parliamentary debate to consider making cyber bullying a crime.

Together with the father of a boy who was also bullied online, Mr Freeman has set up the charityCybersmile Foundationto give support and advice to young people and parents.

"Something needs to be done," Mr Freeman said.

"David Cameron has now said that stalking will be a criminal offence, that is a step in the right direction."

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