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New text bully complaint process helps stop abuse

Media Release
1st November 2006

New text bully complaint process helps stop abuse!

In Auckland today, NetSafe – The Internet Safety Group, the NZ Police, Telecom and Vodafone launched a new standardised process for dealing with text bullying or mobile phone harassment.

The new processes enable swifter and more effective action to be taken in cases of mobile bullying and harassment. The Police have developed clear guidelines for frontline officers dealing with mobile phone harassment. The telcos have aligned their processes removing the ambiguity that arose from cases spanning multiple telecommunications providers.

'It’s now easier for the targets of the harassment. A person who receives 4 or more unwanted text messages (and is not replying) can call their telco and lodge a complaint straight away”, says Lee Chisholm, NetSafe’s Programmes Manager.

“Prior to the development of the new processes, text bullying complaints were categorised as either requiring Police action or at a level to be dealt with by Vodafone or Telecom. Under these new rules, victims can take their case to the Police while also asking the telco to send a warning to the offender. If the offender continues to make contact, they can be cut off the network completely” says Lee.

“The Police, NetSafe, Telecom and Vodafone all understand how serious text bullying is and can help victims to stop the harassment”[1] says Lee.

In Feb 2006 NetSafe facilitated Telecom, Vodafone and the NZ Police to meet to improve processes and communication around text bully and harassment cases, and the group has been working together to develop a single process for dealing with text bullying ever since.

ENDS

[1] NetSafe runs a national Text Bully helpline (0508 NETSAFE) and receives approx 750 calls a year (45% from adults and 55% from children) who have experienced text bullying. A third of the calls are so serious that callers are advised to refer onto the Police. You can find out more about NetSafe at www.netsafe.org.nz

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