Monday, January 9, 2017

Community Safety Cyberbullying Sexual Harassment Maribyrnong, Melbourne councillor calls for updated laws after rape threat The Age DECEMBER 17 2016









Maribyrnong councillor calls for updated laws after rape threat

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A Maribyrnong councillor is calling for Australian laws to keep up with online apps after receiving a text message on her mobile phone threatening her with rape.
Deputy mayor Sarah Carter received an anonymous text message on her phone on Saturday afternoon, which stated, "I see you on Victoria Street. I am going to rape you tonight."



In a private Facebook post, which Cr Carter gave Fairfax Media permission to report on, she posted that "only the weakest most cowardly men resort to this level of intimidation".
"Receiving an anonymous rape threat on my councillor phone on a Saturday arvo wasn't quite what I had imagined for my day," she posted.
"To whomever you are, and I've no doubt that you're probably on my Facebook page and most certainly local; you are a coward and if you think hiding behind an anonymous threat of violence is enough to rattle me, you're sorely mistaken.
"I shall continue to enjoy my strolls down Victoria Street as I have for the last 16 years, whilst police investigate the matter."
Cr Carter has reported the crime to the sexual offences team at Footscray police station, but said the police were limited in how they could act.
"I've had the police say to me that they've [the offender] used a Globfone​ app, which is similar to WhatsApp​, and it scrambles the data," she said.
"What are we going to do – that's the call to action – when I am told that I am going to be raped tonight and they [police] say to me, 'they've used an app, we can't trace their phone number'.
"New Zealand have the Harmful Digital Communications Act that they introduced last year, [but] the Crimes Act in Australia I don't believe has kept up to date with different apps."
Cr Carter said the developers of apps may have a responsibility to ensure the technology was not being used to threaten and harass.
In July, Fairfax Media reported that Cr Carter and her colleague Catherine Cumming had received dozens of vile and frightening text messages, most of which were sexually explicit.



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