Bill to expand and bring legislation for anti-harassment under one roof
By Ian Poh, The Straits Times, 27 Feb 2014
A WIDE-RANGING law targeting both online and real-world harassment, including cyber bullying and stalking, will be tabled in Parliament next Monday.
The new Protection from Harassment Bill will bring current anti-harassment legislation under one roof, and expand it to cover online behaviour as well.
Sexual harassment in and out of the office will be included, along with stalking, which is being introduced as an offence. The proposed law will also cover some acts which originate overseas.
Not only will there be tougher sanctions for offenders, who can be ordered to seek treatment at the Institute of Mental Health, but victims are also given new remedies with the proposed Bill.
They include court protection orders which require harassers to stop doing anything to cause further harm. Victims can also ask the court to order the removal of offending material online, or make offenders put an alert highlighting the inaccurate parts.
Yesterday's announcement by the Law and Home Affairs ministries on the Bill came just over three months after Law Minister K. Shanmugam unveiled plans by the Government to clamp down on such anti-social behaviour.
Last November, he highlighted a 2012 Microsoft study of 25 countries which said Singapore had the second-highest rate of online bullying behind China among young people aged eight to 17.
A government poll last October also showed more than 80 per cent here believed online harassment was a serious issue and that there should be tougher measures to deal with it.
Other countries which have enacted specific laws to protect people from online harassment include Britain and India.