Online safety campaign

The AIDS Action Council has launched an awareness campaign around online safety and online bullying in the wake of recent incidents reported to the Council. You may have seen news reports of men being targeted on dating/hook-up apps, then being intimidated and threatened in person by a group of people.

Some people feel that being online allows them to behave badly without fear of consequences. This is not the case. The Police are actively investigating recent attempts to intimidate men in Canberra because they were reported.

These apps for online hookups or dating might not be for everyone, but for those who use them, you have a right to feel safe from violence and intimidation. In the past, people have been targeted in similar acts of harassment.

This recent case has demonstrated to us that the Police are ready and willing to act on any report . In this case the men approached the Council first and we acted as support to the men as they approached the Police.

Soon afterwards the Council released a social media warning into the community so that everyone could be alert and keep safe. The ABC and Canberra Times also ran news stories about the incidents, directing their questions to the Council, in order to protect the victims’ privacy.

The resulting community awareness has lead to additional victims coming forward. The news stories and police interaction have demonstrated that reports of online harassment will be treated seriously, and with no shaming of the victims.

Some HIV Positive poeple, perhaps you have received online harassment or threats to have your HIV status disclosed. This is against the law. You have a right to report this abuse.

If you are concerned about how you might be treated by your local police please contact the Council and we can provide you with support and advice.

If you have been affected or upset by these recent incidents you may also reach out to the Council for counselling.

To make an appointment call 02 6257 2855 or drop in and speak to someone.

If you are concerned about the safety of yourself or someone else outside of regular business hours you can contact

Lifeline Australia (13 11 14)
QLife Support Service (1800 184 527)

Online safety feb2017

PETULA CLARK

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