• Ten years in prison for workplace and cyber-bullying

    Date: 04.22.11 | by Judge Tom.

    Brodie Panlock was 19 years old and worked at a cafe in Melbourne, Australia. Three male co-workers picked on her mercilessly. They spit at her and poured beer and fish oil on her. After one failed suicide attempt, they laughed at her and suggested she use rat poison the next time she tried. The bullies included two waiters and a chef. They were all in their twenties.  Brodie committed suicide by jumping off a multi-story parking garage in September, 2006.

    At the time,  Australia didn’t have a law criminalizing bullying. Consequently, her abusers received civil fines from $10,000 to $45,000. The owner of the restaurant was fined $220,000 for failure to provide and maintain a safe workplace.

    Brodie and parents, Rae and Damian Panlock

    After five years, legislation was introduced in Parliament in April, 2011. The new law is an amendment to the already existing stalking statute. It will place work-place bullying and cyberbullying under the State Crimes Act. Violations will include incarceration up to ten years. Under “Brodie’s Law” serious bullying will be treated as a crime if it could cause someone physical or mental harm.

    A survey of 16,000 children by the Edith Cowan University in Australia found that the number of cyberbullying victims grew from 15% to 25% during the three years the study was done.

    Brodie's bullies: Smallwood, DaCruz, MacAlpine & Toomey

    When passed, Australia’s new law will amend State Crimes Act 1958 (Section 21A) adding workplace and cyberbullying to already existing stalking laws. In May, 2011, the bill was passed. Brodie’s parents were present and stated that “If you are going to engage in this behaviour, you’ve got the consequences of ending up in jail. . . . I just hope no family has to go through anything like this again,” her mother added.

    For help when needed in Australia contact www.kidshelp.com.au to reach a counselor.

    You can also go here for information regarding your work environment.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    8 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Fri, 22 Apr 2011 at 04:43

      Ten years in prison for workplace and #cyberbullying http://bit.ly/g9sQhB

    • Askthejudge.info
      Fri, 22 Apr 2011 at 11:27

      New Australian cyberbullying law includes up to ten years incarceration for violators. http://fb.me/OZaC5fgt

    • nojobisworththis
      Sat, 23 Apr 2011 at 02:17

      RT @ask_the_judge: New Australian cyberbullying law includes up to ten years incarceration for violators. http://fb.me/OZaC5fgt

    • Betsey Dalbeck
      Sat, 23 Apr 2011 at 02:50

      RT @ask_the_judge: New Australian cyberbullying law includes up to ten years incarceration for violators. http://fb.me/OZaC5fgt

    • Askthejudge.info
      Sat, 23 Apr 2011 at 03:40

      Thx for RTs! @ftitrailblazer @Ganga108 @IndraConsulting @nojobisworth New Australian cyberbullying law: 10 yrs prison http://fb.me/OZaC5fgt

    • Askthejudge.info
      Sat, 28 May 2011 at 04:40

      We must learn from these workplace bullying & #cyberbullying tragedies. Aus. is cracking down on bullies. http://bit.ly/g9sQhB #dontbeabully

    • Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney Matt Ingham
      Mon, 04 Jul 2011 at 08:10

      I agree 100% with the admin, we must learn from these tragedies. Over the course of the past five years, members of our society have made huge strides forward in recognizing the problem, treating it, and punishing it. In this case, I think American lawmakers should follow the example of the Australian lawmakers and ‘crack down’ on the perpetrators.

    • Beth W.
      Tue, 02 Aug 2011 at 02:35

      In cases like Brodie’s, ten years is not enough.

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