Bullying could be criminally prosecuted

JOHANNESBURG - Child bullying made headlines recently after the death of a teen as a result of cyber-bullying.

The perpetrators of bullying could be held criminally liable for their actions if it is found they were aware of their actions and consequences.

READ: Cyber bullied teen commits suicide

Managing Partner and Founder of HJW Attorneys, Megan Harrington-Johnson explained some the of intricacies of this issue.

Harrington-Johnson said the Child Justice Act allows for children to be prosecuted from the age of 10 but it is very seldom applied.

"Bullying is a targeted, sustained attack on one individual for a long period of time," she defined.

"Bullying is not a crime but a lot of the behaviours that fall into the category of bullying can be categorised as crimes."

READ: Northern Cape school takes action against bullying

A conviction would typically not result in imprisonment but Harrington-Johnson stated the children would be directed to a diversion program incorporating anger management, counselling and family intervention on a case-by-case basis.


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