Victims of cyberbullying and unwanted sharing of intimate images now have options for dealing with those who want to harm them.
Nova Scotians can now access supports, and alternatives to criminal prosecution under the province’s Intimate Images and Cyber-Protection Act. The new law came into effect on July 5, 2018.
Victims and parents can also seek a protection order for alleged offenders to stop, take down a webpage or prohibit further contact with the victim. They may also seek compensation.
The CyberScan unit can help victims understand their options and navigate the justice system. CyberScan can also offer voluntary dispute resolution services - including advice, negotiation, mediation and restorative justice approaches to respondents, in addition to victims.
If you believe you are the victim of cyberbullying or that an intimate image of you was shared without your consent call CyberScan:
902-424-6990 (within HRM)
For more information on cyberbullying and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and the supports available to victims please visit novascotia.ca/cyberscan
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is when someone uses electronic communication – such as email, text messages, social media - to bully someone else. The person responsible for the communication either maliciously harmed or intended to cause harm to someone’s health or well-being or did so without thinking or caring about the consequences of their actions.
Cyberbullying can include:
- revealing sensitive personal facts or confidential information
- threating or intimidating another person
- communicating in a way that is grossly offensive, indecent, or obscene
- harassing another person
- making a false accusation
- assuming the online identity of another person
- encouraging another person to commit suicide
- criticizing or disparaging another person because of a prohibited ground of discrimination, like race, religion or sexual orientation
Cyberbullying also includes encouraging someone else to do any of these things.
What is an intimate image?
An intimate image is a visual recording of a person. This includes photographs, films or videos in which a person depicted in the image is nude, exposing their genitals or anal region, exposing her breasts or is engaged in explicit sexual activity.
Who can contact CyberScan?
Anyone can contact CyberScan. This includes young people who feel they are being cyber-bullied or are the victim of unwanted sharing of intimate images, their parents, teachers, principals, police, or other members of the public.
What will happen to the person responsible?
CyberScan will try to stop what is happening by talking with everyone involved. The persons responsible often do not understand the seriousness of their behaviour.
Where possible will seek to resolve the matter informally, by using restorative practices or other approaches. CyberScan will help victims through the process if they choose to apply for a protection order.
Victims can also get an order from the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to stop the behaviour. These orders can
- forbid someone from sharing an intimate image
- forbid someone from posting communications that would be considered cyber-bullying
- forbid someone from contacting the victim in the future
- order a person to take down or disable access to an intimate image or communication
- declare that an image is an intimate image or that communication is cyberbullying
- award damages - an amount of money the court orders a person to pay for causing harm to another person
- refer the matter to dispute-resolution
For more information on cyberbullying and the unwanted sharing of intimate images or how to apply for a cyber-protection order, read the guide What you need to know about the Intimate Images and Cyber-Protection Act.