Accessibility an issue with Nova Scotia’s cyberbullying legislation: expert
Published Friday, January 26, 2018 9:41PM AST
Last Updated Friday, January 26, 2018 9:45PM AST
There are concerns surrounding cyberbullying laws in Nova Scotia after a mother claimed procedural red tape is hampering her ability to get help for her daughter.
The mother, whose identity is being protected for her daughter’s privacy, says her daughter has received hundreds, some telling the teen to kill herself.
“In another message he said that he'll make sure she does it but it won’t be his fault because she will be the one to physically do it,” the mother says.
She says the bullying has gone on for over a year, and she’s tried without success to talk to the boy’s parents. She then went to her daughter’s school and the RCMP, who have opened an investigation.
This week she went to the courthouse and applied for a no-contact order. She says the application was rejected by the court for lack of evidence.
“Not just for me, my daughter's situation and what our family is going through, but for every other child out there that's not,” she says. “It just feels like it's being swept under the rug. They need to change it.”
Seven years ago, the Nova Scotia government struck a task force looking into cyberbullying. In 2012, they released a report.
The next year, 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons took her own life after intimate images of her circulated online. Her tragic death led to another report.
“It is kind of on one level frustrating, after five or six years that we're still … talking about these things,” says former Dalhousie law professor Wayne MacKay.
The reports did lead to the Cyber Safety Act, but that was struck down last year and replaced by the Intimate Images and Cyber Protection Act. But MacKay says it doesn't go far enough.
“I think the main issue, which seems to be coming out in this case, it's not very accessible,” he says.
MacKay says the new legislation means parents often have to go to court and spend money pursuing the cyberbully.
The mother of the cyberbullying victim says time is of the essence, and she wants the messages stopped now.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.