Cyberbullying Investigation Unit begins helping youth, families

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Youth and family members can now call the country's first cyberbullying investigative unit for help.

HALIFAX – Youth and family members can now call the country's first cyberbullying investigative unit for help.

The unit's investigators started Monday and will begin taking calls and investigating complaints immediately.

Nova Scotians can call 242-6900 in Halifax Regional Municipality or toll-free at 855-702-8324 to talk to an investigator. A new website, http://cyberscan.novascotia.ca/ , will have information to help people determine if they are being cyberbullied and outline available options.

"Creating this unit was part of the province's response to the tragic death of a young Nova Scotian," said Judith Ferguson, deputy minister of Justice. "This unit, and the other steps we're taking, including advocating for changes to the Criminal Code, will make a difference for others who are being cyberbullied. Now they have somewhere to turn for help."

Five investigators will look into all cyberbullying complaints, helping victims resolve situations through informal, or legal means. The goal is to try to resolve complaints by helping the cyberbully understand the impact and consequences of their behaviour. Investigators 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, a case could be referred to police, if criminal charges appear warranted.

Chris Abraham, a Grade 12 student at Halifax West and student advisor to the Halifax Regional School Board said he hopes his fellow students take advantage of the CyberSCAN unit.

"I think CyberSCAN is a great idea. I think it will help people feel safer."

The CyberSCAN unit is governed by the Cyber-safety Act, passed in the spring to ensure all Nova Scotians have a place to turn when they experience, or are aware of, cyberbullying. For more information about the act, visit http://cyberscan.novascotia.ca/.

Organizations: CyberSCAN, Halifax Regional School Board

Geographic location: Halifax West

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