Katie Haley's sister Bianca Unwin, father Boyd Unwin, mother Tania Haley-Unwin and brother Dylan gather outside court after Katie's killer was sentenced to 24 years in jail.
Katie Haley's sister Bianca Unwin, father Boyd Unwin, mother Tania Haley-Unwin and brother Dylan gather outside court after Katie's killer was sentenced to 24 years in jail. Jason Edwards

Katie Haley was murdered, now trolls abuse her family online

TODAY marks one year since Shane Michael Robertson brutally bashed Katie Haley to death as their 11-month-old daughter slept nearby.

While spending the day mourning and remembering Katie, her family will be fending off social media trolls who have made their lives hell over the past 12 months.

Known as RIP-trolling, people using fake Facebook profiles have been spreading lies about the mother of two and attacking her loved ones since Katie was killed in her home at Diggers Rest in Victoria, on March 9, 2018.

The trolls claim Robertson was justified in repeatedly bashing Katie with a dumb-bell.

They say Katie was cheating on her killer, she was a bad mother and she had abused Robertson.

None of this was found to be true during the murder investigation and the claims were dismissed when Katie's killer pleaded guilty this week.

Robertson was sentenced to 24 years in jail with parole after serving 19 years.

Katie's sister Bianca Unwin said the troll attacks increased on the day of Robertson's sentencing.

She said the smears against her sister's name were devastating and that her family were struggling to hold it together.

She said she wanted to let everyone know that Katie was a good person and she did not deserve to die.

"We just want it known that she never cheated," Ms Unwin said.

"She was a devoted mother who worked her 10th shift straight on the day she died.

"She lived for her kids.

"For people to continually victim blame is atrocious - the judge even said that it was false."

Ms Unwin said police were investigating and that the offensive comments were reported to Facebook.

Katie's family considered closing down their social media accounts because the trolling was so bad.

"We have decided that we won't be forced into hiding and being recluses because some people can't be decent human beings," Ms Unwin said.

"We won't let others control our lives any more than they already have."

Katie Haley with her partner Shane Robertson, who has been charged with her murder.
Katie Haley was murdered by her partner Shane Robertson.

RIP-trolling involves social media users targeting the families of people who have died.

Ginger Gorman - author of Troll Hunting - commissioned The Australia Institute to undertake a survey to determine how widespread cyberhate is.

The data shows one in three Australians - about 8.8 million Aussies - have been abused online.

Women are more likely to be targeted than men and the trolls are usually males.

"The research shows that trolling correlates strongly with sadism," Ms Gorman said.

"This means that predator trolls want to hurt and upset you.

"Unfortunately, one of the ways they do this is so-called RIP-trolling, where bullies deliberately target the families and loved ones of people who have died."

"The kind of thing that is happening to Katie Haley's family is not acceptable offline and shouldn't be acceptable online." - NewsRegional

*For 24-hour domestic violence support phone the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.