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Online harassment: towards a definition of cyberstalking Online harassment: towards a definition of cyberstalking HOT

Abstract: Although related to stalking and other forms of harassment, cyberstalking is a new form of deviant behaviour about which comparatively little is known. It is argued that cyberstalking has arisen as a result of increased access to information communications technology, in particular the Internet.

Legislation from the UK. US Canada and Australia fails to define cyherstaLking. however, it is recognised that victims arc offered limited protection from this form of harassment. Legal definitions of stalking and harassment fail to lake into account many of the behaviours associated with cyberstalking, such as electronic surveillance.

Existing definitions of stalking and cyberstalking have a number of deficiencies, such as the fact that an incidence of cyberstalking may involve more than one victim. In attempting to define cyberstalking as a form of behaviour associated with harassment and stalking, the experiences of victims are marginalised. In addition. it becomes difficult to offer protection to members of the public.

This paper proposes a formal definition of cybcrstalking in an attempt to encourage discussion and stimulate further research. The proposed definition
encompasses many of the behaviours associated with cybcrstalking and seeks to overcome many of the difficulties identified within the discussion.


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