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Cyberbullying and sexting

Several community organizations have joined forces in the South Okanagan to draw attention to cyberbullying and sexting.

The project known as Think B4 U Send consists of a youth on-line awareness campaign, a speaker event and workshop that will take place during National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, April 6 to 12.

"We created the project because we saw a need in the community for information on sexting, online image sharing and cyberbullying," said Amberlee Erdmann, resource development coordinator for the South Okanagan Victim Assistance Society, SOVAS.

"The main message of the campaign is that if you are underage and you send a sexually explicit image, you need to be aware that once you press send, you have no control of where the photo goes.

Then the other part is people receiving the image of an underage person can face serious criminal implications if they forward that image without consent, such as distribution of child pornography."

Cyberbullying has been brought to the forefront with the cases of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, both victims who committed suicide, she added.

Based on the concerns, SOVAS along with the Okanagan Nation Emergency Transition House, ONTEH, sent in a application to offer workshops and other events to the Department of Justice Canada for National Victims of Crime Awareness Week.

Funding subsequently received is being used for the project.

The speaker will be Misty Cockerill, survivor of the Abbotsford killer and an advocate for victims' rights. She will tell her story and talk about victims of crime and recovery, victimization by the media, cyberbullying, online exploitation and the resources available. She will be at the Penticton Indian Band Community Hall on April 10. The speaker event begins with a dinner at 5 p.m.

The free workshop on April 11, will feature Diane Sowden, executive director of Children of the Street Society, sharing information and strategies to prevent sexual exploitation of children and youth.

The workshop is from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Okanagan College, Penticton Campus, Lecture Theatre, Room PL107.

For information on the speaker, contact ONTEH at (250) 487-8485.

To register for the free workshop, call Erdmann at (250) 493-0800, Ext. 206.







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