NOTE: Biographies of the CyberSCAN investigators are available at http://novascotia.ca/just/.
Nova Scotians are getting more protection from cyberbullying with the hiring of five investigators for the new CyberSCAN investigation unit.
The investigators will begin taking complaints and working with victims and families Sept.
30. The unit will investigate all cyberbullying complaints, helping victims resolve situations through informal, or legal means.
“There was significant interest in this posting and I think that indicates how strongly Nova Scotians feel about this issue,” said Roger Merrick, CyberSCAN director. “We had many qualified candidates and those we hired have very diverse backgrounds and bring unique skills to these extremely important roles. They have experience in mediation and conciliation, investigation and they have worked with people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.”
Sonya Ferrara, a policy analyst with the provincial Child and Youth Strategy who was an investigator with the Office of the Ombudsman, Youth Services Division, is excited to join the unit.
“I’m very honoured to be a part of this team and look forward to helping Nova Scotians deal with this complex and sensitive issue,” said Ms. Ferrara. “Our primary goal will be to intervene early to help people understand the seriousness of their behaviour and stop the cyberbullying by talking to everyone involved, including schools and families.”
Investigators will first try to resolve complaints by helping the cyberbully understand the impact and consequences of their behaviour. They can also apply for a cyberbullying prevention order, where the court could order a person to stop cyber communication, or confiscate the technology used for cyberbullying. And finally, they can refer the case to police, if criminal charges appear warranted.
The CyberSCAN unit is governed by the Cyber-safety Act, legislation passed in the spring to ensure all Nova Scotians have a place to turn when they experience, or are aware of, cyberbullying. In August, the first part of the act took effect, allowing victims to apply to the Justice of the Peace centre for a protection order that could place restrictions on, or help identify, the cyberbully. Victims can also sue the cyberbully.
For more information about the Cyber-safety Act, visit http://novascotia.ca/just/.