As part of Bullying Awareness Week, the province is encouraging young people and others hurt by cyberbullying to call for help.
Nova Scotia’s new CyberSCAN investigative unit is one place to turn. The unit has received 30 complaints in its first six weeks of operation, 15 involving adults and 13 involving youth.
Two were deemed outside of the unit’s mandate.
Twenty investigations are ongoing, while eight have been resolved in a variety of ways, from informal resolutions to referring cases to police for further action.
“As a parent, I know that bullying can take a terrible toll on a young person,” said Justice Minister Lena Diab. “No one should have to live in fear every time they turn on their computer or phone. The CyberSCAN unit gives people a place to turn for help.
“The province will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the CyberSCAN unit. The province has also committed to providing more resources for students and establishing a sexual assault strategy.”
CyberSCAN investigators have also visited schools across the province to give workshops on helping students stay safe online.
The unit has five investigators to examine all cyberbullying complaints, helping victims resolve situations through informal or legal means. Investigators can apply for a cyberbullying prevention order, where the court could order a person to stop communicating online, or confiscate the technology if necessary.
Cases can also be referred to police, if criminal charges appear warranted.
Nova Scotians can call 424-6990 in Halifax Regional Municipality or toll-free at 855-702-8324 to talk to an investigator. Parents of young victims can call the hotline and take action on their child’s behalf. Referrals can also come from school staff, police, or anyone who is aware of an instance of cyberbullying taking place.
More information on the unit and on options for people who believe they are experiencing cyberbullying is available online at www.cyberscan.novascotia.ca .