There are concerns legislation tabled in Tasmania's Parliament which will criminalise serious instances of cyberbullying fails to address one-off instances of severe bullying.
The Sexual Assault Support Service said a single instance of severe bullying could cause as much mental or physical harm as ongoing but less serious incidents.
Attorney-General Elise Archer said the bill was designed to address the ongoing, repeated or sustained nature of bullying actions, including cyberbullying.
"Serious bullying can result in tragic personal consequences for victims, such as long-term mental health impacts and self-harm, which is why our government has taken the step to make serious and sustained cases a crime," Ms Archer said.
Tabled in Parliament in March, the Criminal Code Amendment (Bullying) Bill 2019 seeks to make serious cyberbullying a crime, while expanding the definition of bullying to include stalking and the intention to cause the victim extreme humiliation or to self-harm.
"While the proposed legislation provides that the bullying conduct must occur on one occasion or be persistent or sustained, it is important to note that there are already a range of existing legal mechanisms and offences which address single instance bullying behaviour, including under Commonwealth law," Ms Archer said.
In its submission to the bill, SASS said it was concerned the new law required multiple instances of bullying for a person to be charged in Tasmania for their behaviour.
"It is foreseeable that one severe incident of bullying could cause as much physical or mental harm, including extreme humiliation, as a series of less severe incidents," the submission said.
The submission asked for the Department of Justice to consider reframing the bill so a person could be charged if they had committed a single incident, if that single incident was severe enough to cause on its own physical or mental harm, or extreme humiliation, in certain cases of cyberbullying.
SASS said cyberbullying was a pertinent issue, particularly in regards to the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, known as 'revenge porn'.
SASS suggested the Department develop a set of criteria to assist in considering the severity of online bullying incidents, for example, by how widely offensive material is shared or transmitted, or through what forums it is shared.