Reporting Cyberbullying to the Police

Although cyberbullying is not a specific criminal offence in UK law, criminal laws such as the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 may apply in terms of harassment or threatening behaviour.

Where mobile phone bullying is concerned, the Telecoms Act 1984 makes it a criminal offence to make anonymous or abusive calls and, if you are harassed persistently on your mobile, it may be an offence under the Harassment Act 1997. Furthermore, the Communications Act 2003 makes it a criminal offence to send 'by means of a public electronic communication network, a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character'. 

In relation to sexting (the possession and sending of indecent images of children under 18), this is an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for the person sending it and the person receiving it. This could mean young people who pass on indecent images taken of a boyfriend, girlfriend or a picture taken by others, could be committing a sexual offence and could find themselves on the Sex Offenders Register.

If you are concerned about how to deal with matters that may be criminal, including how and whether to view evidence that involves indecent images, please contact the Police enquiry number 101 for further advice.