Cyber bullying to be criminalised

A new report due out on cyber bullying this month is to recommend criminal prosecution for those found guilty of the act.

A new report due out on cyber bullying this month is to recommend criminal prosecution for those found guilty of the act.

A report compiled by Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, the Government’s special rapporteur on child protection, will recommend that cyber bullying be classified as a criminal offense in Ireland when it is presented to the Government shortly.

The report will propose new laws to compel all schools to introduce disciplinary codes to tackle the misuse of social media and recommends that the current Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act should include specific offences for cyber bullying.

Teenagers Ciara Pugsley from Dromahair along with Erin and Shannon Gallagher from Donegal all died by suicide last year, their deaths were linked to the effects of cyber bullying.

The child protection report also states that homophobic bullying in schools should be classified as a child protection issue. This would require schools to address these issues and report them to social services, if necessary.

The new report puts forward that automatic guardianship rights be extended to unmarried fathers and stepparents, it also highlights the lack of legal clarity surrounding the position of children in families headed by same-sex couples.