Cyber bullying on the rise, but few want to report it, say officials

‘Avoiding legal procedure will only allow number of cases to escalate’

June 15, 2018 12:35 am | Updated 12:35 am IST - Mumbai

While cyber bullying has been on the rise, in Mumbai and across the country, the reluctance of the victims to report the cases has proven to be a hindrance for law enforcement agencies in dealing with such instances, cyber crime officials said on Thursday, on the eve of Stop Cyber Bullying Day.

The Day is observed on the third Friday of June across the world, an initiative of the Cybersmile Foundation to encourage people towards creating a healthy online environment. The foundation, a non-profit organisation working out of London, started the initiative in June 2013 in collaboration with other similarly-minded organisations.

Cyber crime officials said the law requires the victims to come forward and register complaints, and investigation and prosecution is not possible unless this first step is taken. They put down the victims’ reluctance to lack of awareness about laws and infrastructure.

Special Inspector General of Police (Cyber Crime) Brijesh Singh said, “The Central government has allotted ₹4 crore to every State for cyber security. Maharashtra is the only State that has put in ₹1,000 crore towards dealing with cyber crimes and has one police station dedicated to cyber crime in every district. One should not refuse to prosecute assuming that the law and its enforcement will be weak and in vain. No doubt, there are difficulties in investigation and prosecution, but avoiding legal procedure will only allow the number of cases to escalate.”

Cyber crime lawyer N.S. Nappinai said not only has ‘trolling’ grown at a shocking rate over the years, the age of the perpetrators is increasingly reducing as well. “I have seen cases where victims have faced inhuman threats. In recent times, children have been involved in these crimes and this is because the number of children using the internet under adult supervision is negligible. Around 90% of the people who have come to me with similar cases have refused to prosecute,” Ms. Nappinai said.

Cyber experts said that under the circumstances, prevention is the best cure. Some basic safety tips include talking to loved ones about potential dangers, encouraging them to confide in you, refraining from sharing excessive information online and not hesitating to seek legal help.

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