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Germany

It is important to prevent cyberbullying and online violence. Especially in serious cases, this may also include criminal sanctions in regard to certain forms of conduct. However, the phenomena of cyberbullying and online violence cannot be addressed by criminal law alone, but also require preventive measures and the raise of awareness in society.

Cyberbullying and online violence are characterized by making use of the internet and connected devices. However, the relevant conduct in the area of criminal law is often covered by broader offences that do not require using such devices (e.g. insult, threat or coercion). In these cases, computer devices are mainly used as an instrument to commit traditional offences. This is a well-known development in regard to many traditional offences due to continued digitization in all areas of society.

At least in some cases the conduct in the area of cyberbullying and online violence can also be linked to cybercrime in a narrower sense, involving an infringement of computer devices (e.g. hacking a computer to obtain pictures that are subsequently used for blackmailing). But even in these cases the involved cybercrime offences typically seem to be of a rather instrumental nature, allowing the commission of other and often more severe crimes.

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