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Partnership highlights cyber safety for County youth

cyber-presentation-1Social, emotional and legal consequences of the online world were highlighted for Grade 7 and 8 students during a Cyber-Safety presentation last Thursday at PECI, hosted by the Recreation Outreach Centre (ROC), the Prince Edward OPP and the school.

cyber-presentation-2PECI’s drama students portrayed true to life scenarios today’s youth could face in the online world – including sexting, cyber bullying and online predators. The students also learned about security settings for their devices and social media. The OPP discussed legal issues related to e-crime activities and the ROC provided resources to empower participants to be their own advocate in personal safety.

“The goal is to empower participants with tools to actively manage a situation when faced with dangerous or inappropriate online behaviour,” said Lesley Lavender, director of communications with the ROC.

The program was part of a Prince Edward County Police Services Board initiative that received a financial boost last fall from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to undertake concrete action toward “Crime Prevention Through Social Development”.

As a result, the board initiated a Community Safety and Well-being Plan for Prince Edward County. The plan strikes a long-term strategy to make safety and well-being a reality for vulnerable individuals, families, groups and locations. In March, more than 20 local organizations and agencies met to lay the plan’s groundwork.

Soon to be mandated across the province, the plans are a multi-agency response built on consensus and recognition of local assets and knowledge. The Police Services Board engaged the County Community Foundation as project manager for this grant’s activities.

The presentation at PECI was one of the projects through the grant to help the Prince Edward OPP and local Recreation Outreach Centre (ROC) focus on e-crimes and cyber safety for young people in Prince Edward County.

Participants left with a swag bag full of resources to use themselves and share with their parents. Resources provided to the participants are available on the ROC website www.theROC.ca

“Through the ROC’s programs, young people have shared challenges they face related to inappropriate, and often illegal, use of technology and their struggle to handle these experiences in a manner that is comfortable for them,” said Lavender. “The ROC, OPP and PECI worked in partnership to provide County youth with an informative and interactive presentation on the personal impacts and legal consequences of participating in online/onscreen situations, and providing a range of resources and tools to assist them in appropriately managing difficult situations.”

The most recent Statistics Canada report, released in 2014, shows victims of police-reported cybercrime are generally young.

Overall, 42 per cent of victims of violent incidents involving a cyber crime identified by police were aged 17 and under. The prevalence of victims under the age of 18 was especially pronounced for violations of a sexual nature. In 2012, 96 per cent of victims of sexual violations associated with a cyber crime were aged 17 and under, including 10 per cent of victims under the age of 12.

Overall, almost three-quarters of victims of violent incidents associated with a cyber crime knew the accused. For most incidents, the accused was known to the victim as a friend or acquaintance (45 per cent), a current or former intimate partner (24 per cent) or a family member (5 per cent).

Victims of sexual violations involving a cybercrime were less likely to know the accused (57 per cent) compared with victims of non-sexual violent violations (77 per cent). The accused was a stranger for the majority (55 per cent) of victims of luring a child via a computer – the most common violent sexual violation associated with cyber crimes.

In addition to the presentation at the high school, the Police Services Board’s ‘Crime Prevention Through Social Development’ offers two other projects in the community.

The John Howard Society has provided individual and group sessions in anger management, anti-bullying and substance abuse.

The Canadian Mental Health Association is providing three training workshops. “safeTALK” prepares participants to identify people with thoughts of suicide in order to engage and connect them with further help and care.
“Making Connections” is for front-line professionals who work with issues of domestic violence, mental illness and substance abuse and “Mental Health First Aid” offers training to professionals and the public to help recognize signs of mental health problems and how to direct a person to appropriate care. County.

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther Thing

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