Communtity Law Manual | Harassment & bullying | Complaining to NetSafe, the cyberbullying complaints agency

Cyberbullying: Protections against online/digital harassment

Complaining to NetSafe, the cyberbullying complaints agency

How do I make a complaint to NetSafe?

You can complain to NetSafe by using their online report form, at www.netsafe.org.nz/report (or from their home page, click on “Report Online Incidents”), or phoning them on 0800 NETSAFE (638 723).

What can NetSafe do if I complain to them?

Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, ss 6(2), 8

NetSafe’s role, as the cyberbullying complaints agency, is to investigate your complaint and to try to resolve it through advice, negotiation, mediation and persuasion. It must take account of the digital communication principles (see above, “The 10 principles for online/digital behaviour”) and also the right to freedom of expression in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

NetSafe doesn’t have any powers to make binding legal decisions or order people to do things. For example, it can’t order people to take down online posts or pictures, and it can’t impose any penalties like fines or compensation.

NetSafe can decide not to investigate your complaint if it thinks that what you’re complaining about doesn’t breach any of the digital communication principles, or that what you’re complaining about is trivial or unlikely to cause anyone serious distress.

What can I do if complaining to NetSafe doesn’t work?

In that case you can apply to the District Court for various orders, including “takedown” orders (see the next section).

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