Victorian Bullying Bill provides for the criminalisation of serious bullying

Given our recent focus on workplace bullying, and thanks to our wonderful contributor, @trinny61 [Trinny] we stumbled on the Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Bill 2011 (‘the Bill’) research brief. The Bill provides for the criminalisation of serious bullying. It has been drafted in the context of the suicide in 2006 of a young Victorian woman, Brodie Panlock, who was the victim of serious workplace bullying…

Victorian Bullying Bill provides for the criminalisation of serious bullying

Brodie Panlock

At present, serious bullying behaviour can fall within the definition of stalking in the Crimes Act 1958. Under the Crimes Act, the penalty for stalking is up to ten years’ imprisonment.

The Bill amends the Crimes Act so as to clarify that the stalking provisions apply to serious bullying and to strengthen those provisions. To these ends, the Bill adds new provisions to the Crimes Act so that the course of conduct and intention that constitute stalking encompass the behaviours of serious bullying.

The Bill also adds the same provisions to the Stalking Intervention Orders Act 2008 and the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010, so that the three Acts are consistent and victims of serious bullying can make applications for the issue of intervention orders.

The Attorney-General, the Hon. Robert Clark, gave the second reading speech for the Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Bill on 6 April 2011. Mr Clark stated that the government is committed to addressing serious bullying in the community. He said that the death of Brodie Panlock, a 19 year old woman who ended her life after enduring a persistent campaign of bullying, was a tragic reminder of the serious consequences that bullying can have on victims, their families and the community.

He said that the tragedy was compounded by the fact that none of those responsible for the bullying was charged with a serious criminal offence under the Crimes Act, but were instead convicted and fined under the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

Mr Clark said that the case of Brodie Panlock demonstrates that the worst cases of serious bullying demand redress through the criminal law. Accordingly, the Bill provides for the prosecution of serious bullying under the Crimes Act for the offence of stalking.

Read the [popup url=’ ‘]research brief in a scalable popup window.[/popup]




3 Responses to “Victorian Bullying Bill provides for the criminalisation of serious bullying”

  1. May I suggest one of my former longstanding workcover case managers be set as an example! It is high time too that some workcover case managers, those who relentlessly bully, stalk and harass injured workers (!)  to the point of frankly endangering the injured workers’ lives, be given the maximum punishment. I wonder how I could go about it (and how other injured workers could hold these people accountable).

    workcovervictim May 16, 2012 at 11:44 am
  2. What is needed is a few test cases. Some negative re enforcement. The only thing that will deter bullying is if some CEO’s, front line managers and small business owners serve a jail sentence for allowing their employees or themselves to be physically and psychologically abusive. Compensation to the victims should reflect the serious nature of workplace violence and abuse. Fines must be appropriate to the size and profibility of the business. A non bias, independent reporting service designed to take records of workplace bullying specifically to accumulate “evidence over time” for victims. Some tough moves need to be actioned.