Can you file a restraining order for cyber bullying?
Everyone who has ever posted a photo to Instagram knows that the Internet is full of trolls. Nasty comments, lewd language, and hurtful messages seem to come with the territory of having an online persona. However, there are instances in which online commenting and contact crosses the line into harassment. Repeated contact from someone online that is intended to harass or to make you or your family fear for your safety is illegal under California criminal law.
Am I Being Cyber Bullied?
Cyber abuse and cyber stalking can take many forms, but some of the most common practices include sending manipulative, vulgar, or threatening emails from a variety of accounts, impersonating the victim through false accounts. Plus, attempting to connect with them on social media and dating apps via false accounts, doxing the victim. I.e. posting their personal information online with the intent to put them in danger and create real-world consequences; signing up the victim for multiple mailing lists or posting their contact information to a bulletin board or craigslist post.
Cyber Abuse Law in California
Under California Penal Code 653m, it is illegal to reach someone electronically with the intent to repeatedly harass or annoy them. A single instance of contact can be considered cyber abuse if it contains obscene or threatening language. You’re able to get a restraining order even if you do not have a specific relationship with your stalker or abuser. This will legally prohibit them from coming into contact with you, both in the real world and online. In addition to seeking legal protection, it is always wise to utilize privacy and blocking features when it comes to online abuse. And to document every instance of contact so that it can be addressed in court.
Remember, just because someone is abusing you from behind their phone or computer does not make their behavior excusable. Cyber abuse and cyber stalking are illegal, and perpetrators deserve to be brought to justice.