Legal bans on pro-suicide web sites: an early retrospective from Australia

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2009 Apr;39(2):190-3. doi: 10.1521/suli.2009.39.2.190.


There are worldwide concerns that pro-suicide web sites may trigger suicidal behaviors among vulnerable individuals. In 2006, Australia became the first country to criminalize such sites, sparking heated debate. Concerns were expressed that the law casts the criminal net too widely; inappropriately interferes with the autonomy of those who wish to die; and has jurisdictional limitations, with off-shore web sites remaining largely immune. Conversely, proponents point out that the law may limit access to domestic pro-suicide web sites, raise awareness of Internet-related suicide, mobilize community efforts to combat it, and serve as a powerful expression of societal norms about the promotion of suicidal behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Internet / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Facilitation*
  • Social Values
  • Software
  • Suicide / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • Suicide, Assisted / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Suicide, Assisted / prevention & control
  • Suicide, Attempted / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control