The Latest in Domestic Violence: Cyber Harassment and You
There’s a lot that can be said for technology. For sure, it has accounted for many changes in the law. You may know that harassment alone has long been considered a predicate act when it comes to domestic violence. But, what happens when the bothersome acts are done via the computer or another electronic device? Can you make a case for cyber harassment?
First and foremost, you should know that cyber harassment is now considered a predicate act of domestic violence. Notwithstanding, it is listed separately within the definitions contained in domestic violence laws.
Under New Jersey law, cyber harassment is considered a crime and literally follows the statute on harassment not using internet resources. Although you might think of cyber harassment as limited to social media, it doesn’t just include making posts on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. No doubt someone could use electronic mail or computer bulletin boards to create fear or embarrassment.
What Constitutes Cyber Harassment?
Without question, some forms of cyber harassment are more overt than others. For example, domestic violence victims include those involved in dating relationships. When the two call it quits, there should be no concerns that intimate photographs will be made the subject of an email campaign. Unfortunately, it happens.
Of course, there’s far more. Cyber harassment can take the form of cyberstalking. In fact, the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence cites it as the most dangerous form of going after someone using the internet as a tool. Some examples of cyberstalking include the following:
- Creating fictitious screen names or identities to follow someone on social media
- Establishing a fraudulent identity to communicate via online dating sites
- Installing a tracking device to monitor a victim’s online activities
- Providing details of a former lover or spouse’s personal undertakings
Cyberbullying can be yet another component of cyber harassment. Strangely enough, some feel superior with online muscle. The old axiom that words will not hurt as much as physical violence is sometimes far from the truth. Consequently, the use of internet resources to threaten, belittle or intimidate can be viewed as a predicate act of domestic violence.
Who are Considered Domestic Violence Victims?
In a prior article, we provided you with information concerning individuals who may seek remedies under the Domestic Violence Act. Among them, are persons who have been married or in a prior dating relationship. You should always check with an experienced family law attorney when facing this type of legal issue.
Of course, there is the possibility that you have been wrongfully accused of an act of domestic violence. It is also important that you seek legal counsel as there may be serious ramifications if the court agrees with your accuser.
Have questions? At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have nearly three decades of representing individuals with concerns surmounting from domestic violence. Give us a call so that we can review your situation and suggest the best way to handle it from a legal perspective.