New guide warns on cyberbullying consequences

Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) has launched a free guide to help educate young people about the potentially life-changing legal consequences of online crimes such as cyberbullying and sexting.

The guide – ‘Is it legal? What you need to know about using your phone and social media’ – breaks down the meaning of varying types of offending, explains what the law says, and what can happen if the laws are broken.

LAQ Youth Legal Aid Assistant Director David Law said young people often did not understand that cyberbullying was a crime, nor that they could be criminally charged for possessing or sharing indecent photographs of someone aged 18 and under.

“By educating young people about what the law says, how to prevent personal photos getting into the wrong hands, and where to get help if they need it, we are supporting them to make informed choices about their online behaviour and safety,” Mr Law said.

“The guide answers questions about using social media, explains what’s wrong with activities such as trolling and sexting, and uses case studies to show the impact of breaking these laws.

“We hope this guide helps young people realise the law does apply to their online behaviour, how to recognise when things might be going too far online, and what their rights and responsibilities are if laws are broken.”


The Queensland Police Service (QPS) describes cyberbullying as a criminal offence that may be punishable by a court via a term of imprisonment.

The guide was developed with help from Queensland’s Youth Advocacy Centre, Pine Rivers Community Legal Centre and Logan-based community support group YFS, and replaces the previously published ‘Cyberbullying, Sexting and Facebook’ guide.

LAQ offers free legal help to people who have been charged with an offence relating to cyberbullying, sexting or image-based abuse (phone 1300 65 11 88).

Access the new LAQ guide and the QPS webpage on cyberbullying.

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