San Francisco Cyberbullying Lawyers
Cyberbullying can be just as damaging as in-person bullying – sometimes, more so. Technology can be used to bully, threaten, harass, blackmail or sexually exploit another person. Cyberbullying gives a perpetrator a larger platform to humiliate or attack a victim. A targeted individual can suffer cyberbullying during all hours of the day and night, anywhere he or she gets online. No place is safe.
If you or your child has experienced sexual cyberbullying, help is available. Cyberbullying is against the law in California. Speaking to a San Francisco cyberbullying lawyer at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi can help you take legal action against a bully. You may also have grounds to hold an institution responsible, such as a school for failing to do more to prevent online attacks. Contact us today at (855) 944-0661 for a free case consultation.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying refers to the use of technology or electronic communication to bully someone. Bullying can refer to any unwanted, repeated and aggressive behavior against a victim from one or more perpetrators. When this willful and repeated harm is inflicted against someone through the use of electronic devices such as computers and cell phones, it is defined as cyberbullying.
Examples of cyberbullying include:
- Using GPS to track a victim’s location
- Spreading rumors or lies
- Circulating private photos
- Sending repeated aggressive or mean messages
- Sending unwanted or obscene images
- Using chat to gang up on a victim
- Starting hate campaigns to hurt a victim
- Meanspirited pranks
- Hacking into someone’s social media
- Invasions of privacy
- Digital sexual harassment
- Trying to arrange a meeting for sex
A victim can face cyberbullying on many different platforms, including social media, instant messenger, e-mail, text message and video games. This can make it difficult for someone who has been targeted by a cyberbully to find respite from abuse. The nature of cyberbullying also comes with the risk of being bullied or attacked on a large scale, such as a humiliating photo being circulated around an entire school in a matter of seconds.
Sexual cyberbullying is an especially dangerous form of online harassment. It refers to repeated and aggressive behaviors of a sexual nature or based on a victim’s sex. It is a type of internet sex crime that can have a wide range of negative repercussions for a victim. It can refer to digital sexual harassment, such as picking on a victim based on his or her sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression. Sexual cyberbullying can also refer to sending unwanted sexually explicit messages or images to a victim.
In some cases, sexual cyberbullying involves posting or circulating explicit images of the victim. “Revenge porn,” for example, refers to revealing sexual images or videos of a person, typically by a former sexual partner who received them from the victim during their relationship and circulates them without consent as a form of revenge. Sexual cyberbullying can also reach outside of the screen, leading to requests for sexual favors, arrangements to meet up for unwanted sexual activity or sex crimes such as assault.
Cyberbullying Laws in California
California offers legal protections against cyberbullying. The state’s anti-bullying laws and regulations prohibit the “unlawful electronic distribution of personal information or harassing messages.” This is a misdemeanor crime if the perpetrator commits this act with the intention of placing the victim in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family, or with intent to cause the victim injury or harassment. This offense comes with potential penalties of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
There are also laws in place against the use of electronic devices to harass or stalk a victim. Schools in California are required to adopt strict policies prohibiting bullying, harassment and intimidation – including cyberbullying. They must have procedures in place for reporting, investigating and responding to cyberbullying complaints, as well as resources available to at-risk students such as members of the LGBTQ community. If a school or school district fails to meet its obligation to protect students from cyberbullying, it can be held responsible for related harm through a school abuse case in San Francisco.
What to Do About Online Bullying
If you or your child is facing abuse online, take steps to report the crime and prevent it from continuing. First, report and block the user who is doing the bullying. There are settings on social media platforms and most other apps to report cyberbullying, harassment and inappropriate content. Make sure your settings on social media accounts are set to “private.” If cyberbullying involves classmates or a school-based platform, report it to the school.
You can contact the police to report cyberbullying that breaks one of California’s online harassment laws. There are laws against cyber harassment, cyberstalking, cyber exploitation and threats. If a perpetrator is placing you in fear of your safety or the safety of your family, distributing sexual material of you without your consent, or threatening to injure or kill you, report it to the police. Then, contact a cyberbullying lawyer in San Francisco as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit for Cyberbullying in San Francisco
Bringing a civil claim against a cyberbully and/or an institution could compensate you for several losses associated with this crime, such as your emotional distress, inconvenience, legal costs, attorney’s fees, lost wages, and medical or therapy bills. You may also be compensated for losses such as damage to your reputation due to sexual cyberbullying.
Sadly, cyberbullying can lead to suicide. If your child took his or her own life due to cyberbullying, your family may be eligible for wrongful death damages. This may include reasonable funeral and burial costs, grief, mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and punitive damages to penalize the cyberbully.
Contact Our San Francisco Cyberbullying Lawyers for Free Today
The San Francisco sexual abuse lawyers at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi understands how devastating sexual cyberbullying is for a victim and his or her family. This is a distressing situation that can cause immense physical, mental, emotional and financial harm. Find out how you can seek justice against a cyberbully and others for this wrongdoing in San Francisco. Contact us online or call (855) 944-0661 for a free and confidential case evaluation.