• Cyberharassment Awareness Course (Cybac): influences from domestic abuse perpetrator programmes for its design and function

      Conradie, Liesl; Pitchford, Melanie; Myers, Ellie; Barnes, Jim; Short, Emma; Open University; University of Bedfordshire; Fatima College of Health Sciences, Abu Dhabi (International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 2020-06-30)
      Cyberharassment as a crime has increased significantly in recent years and is covered by legislation in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Cyberharassment can be targeted towards individuals or groups of people. Perpetrators can be unknown or known to their victims and the methods of harassment are diverse. The use of domestic abuse (DA) programmes for first time or low risk offenders are employed to reduce recidivism and to safeguard victims. A first step in creating a cyberharassment awareness course identified the aspects that appear to contribute to the effectiveness of these DA programmes. Various aspects contributed to the success of domestic abuse programmes and they were influential in the development of the cyberharassment awareness course. The main aspects considered and included or recommended are the need for treatment readiness, excluding some perpetrators, multi-agency working, and the location and intensity of the programme. The programmes that proved successful made use of a group contract and included individual and group work aspects, all of which were mandatory. Cognitive behaviour therapy formed the backbone of programmes and empathy awareness training was considered. The needs of individual perpetrators were to be catered to and victims included where possible.