Brodie Panlock – the catalyst for new bullying/stalking laws

Brodie’s Law” is gaining considerable attention in the Victorian newspapers in anticipation of the introduction of the Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Bill 2011 in Parliament but it may be unreasonable to label these changes “Brodie’s Law” as, although Brodie Panlock’s suicide and the related court actions were the catalyst for the Bill, the proposed Bill is much broader than workplace bullying and, in many ways, focuses more on stalking than bullying, if there can be a differentiation.

The draft bill will broaden the existing offence of stalking in the Crimes Act to capture types of bullying behaviour and are likely to expand the types of  environments in which such bullying can occur.

One of the changes involves the power for victims of bullying to apply for a stalking intervention order.

Brodie’s suicide and the OHS prosecutions of the perpetrators was a specific set of circumstances that created discussion throughout Australia about the impact of workplace bullying.  But as the discussions continued there was a blurring of the issues as other varieties of bullying, such as stalking and cyberbullying, entered the discussion.  The amendments to the Crimes Act seek to address the variety of bullying activities and to provide additional protection to bullying victims.

From some of the media comments of Brodie’s parents, it is clear that these legal changes will provide some comfort to the Panlock family who still seek justice over Brodie’s death.  Over the coming weeks, the passage of the bill and the debates in Parliament may illustrate more clearly the legacy of Brodie’s tragic death

Lastly, media have been reporting that the bill will be presented to Parliament next week but SafetyAtWorkBlog has been advised that the bill should be available on the parliamentary website within a day or two.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia

3 thoughts on “Brodie Panlock – the catalyst for new bullying/stalking laws”

  1. I think this is a great first step but share concerns that the unions have over employers being let off the hook in relation to their duties. Also how will these crimes be effectively investigated in relation to the workplace bullying. Will it be a collaboration between the police and worksafe? So many questions, it would be good to hear your run down on the bill when you\’ve finished digesting it.

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