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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention's role?

The CYCP provides Canadians with evidence-based and age appropriate crime prevention messages, information, tool, and programs to prevent youth crime and victimization. By providing factual information and working with partners across Canada, we want to encourage youth to think critically, build skills that support positive decision making and to make changes in their lives and communities.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is generally defined as repeated behaviour that is intended or known to cause fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress or other forms of harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem, reputation or property. Typically bullying involves an imbalance of power between the individual who bullies, and the victim. It can take place by written, verbal, physical or electronic mean or any other form of expression.

What makes bullying so harmful is that it can be direct or indirect, meaning it can be done in plain view, in front of many people, or behind the scenes with only few witnesses. All forms of bullying are harmful to those involved.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is when an individual uses information and communication technologies in a way that is intended or known to cause the intimidation or harassment of another person(s).

It can include using cellular and smartphones, email, or social media to post or distribute insults, threats, gossip, hate speech and modified and/ or intimate photographs or videos.

Cyberbullying is often defined by young people as "trolling," gossiping, hating online, spreading false stories, causing drama, etc. Trolling can be defined as the act of writing comments on forums and in chat rooms with the intent of angering and offending other participants. Any form of cyberbullying, whether it was intended as a joke or not, may be hurtful and embarrassing.

What can I do if I have been a victim of cyberbullying or if someone I know has?

Here is what you can do if you or someone you know is a victim of cyberbullying:

  • Start by blocking the individual or by leaving the chat room or forum.
  • Save copies of the text before you "X" out of the browser, this way you have proof should you decide to report it.
  • Talk to a trusted adult or authority figure to have them intervene.
  • Report it to the administration of the website or "flag" the information/comments.

Take a look at our bullying fact sheet for more information and some helpful tips to combat bullying.

What can I do if I have been victim of bullying, or if I know someone who has?

Here is what you can do if you or someone you know is a victim of bullying:

  • Walk away, or leave the situation altogether.
  • Keep track of the bullying (write down what happened and who was there, especially any potential witnesses).
  • Tell a trusted adult (parent or authority figure); if none are available, give Kids Help Phone a call.
  • Report criminal offences to the police such as threats, assaults and sexual exploitation. 
  • If it is someone you know, tell the bully to stop (if you feel it is safe to do so), or find others who can stop it.
  • Also, try befriending the person being bullied; that little extra strength beside them will go a long way.

Take a look at our Bullying fact sheet for more information and for some helpful tips on how to put an end to bullying.

Is Cyberbullying illegal?

In Canada, traditional crimes that are committed through the use of an electronic device fall under provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The act of cyberbullying can break various laws, depending on the circumstances. For instance, it can constitute criminal harassment (which includes stalking), defamation of character, etc. Every incident is different and should be investigated on a case by case basis.

How can I report cyberbullying?

Cybertip.ca is a great resource to report any online exploitation and cyberbullying. It allows Internet users to report online exploitation. They do initial investigations on the tips they receive to see if a crime has occurred. If they believe that a crime did occur, they report the tip to the police for that specific jurisdiction.

It is important to report cyberbullying even when it doesn't affect you. If you see any form of inappropriate behaviour on the Internet, go ahead and report it to the website administrators.

Needhelpnow.ca is a website that strives to provide information to youth who have been impacted by online exploitation. It provides them with practical steps victims can take to regain control over the situation.

Many websites allow users to report any content that they believe is exploitative and qualifies as cyberbullying. Here are a few links to the Report Abuse pages on some of the more popular websites:

Twitter: support.twitter.com/articles/20169998-reporting-abusive-behavior#

Facebook: www.facebook.com/help/181495968648557/

Tumblr: tumblring.net/how-to-report-people-on-tumblr-for-abuse/ (send an e-mail to report abuse@tumblr.com)

If you believe that any of the content you have seen has crossed the line and are illegal, report it to the police (remember to keep copies of evidence). The police of jurisdiction will then be able to determine if a crime occurred and whether it is in their jurisdiction to investigate the offences.

Who polices the Internet?

While there are multiple agencies that monitor Internet activities, it's our job as Internet users to ensure that the agencies are made aware of any harmful content online. Therefore, when you think that a crime has been committed online, it's important that you talk to the police of jurisdiction and report all incidents of cyberbullying. They will be able to decide if a crime has taken place and what the next correct course of action would be.

What if the person bothering me (or my friend) is from a different country?

Cybertip.ca has developed partnerships all over the world. Through Interpol and a large database of website administrators, they have the capacity to investigate Internet child exploitation issues. However, you should also contact your local department and explain the situation. They should be in a good position to determine who should be contacted.

Is Marijuana illegal?

In Canada, it is illegal to smoke and possess marijuana. There are people who receive medical marijuana which is used to help them cope with certain medical conditions; however, it can only be prescribed by a doctor and is for serious medical issues only.

Can I drive after having just one drink?

Alcohol is a dangerous substance and should never be ingested before operating a motorized vehicle. The legal limit for your blood-alcohol level is .08 (for a criminal charge), however, anything higher than .05 can lead to a license suspension, fines, and an increase in your insurance. Furthermore, Canada has adopted a no-tolerance blood-alcohol rule. This includes that drivers under a certain age (ex. 21 years old) can have no alcohol in their system while operating a motorized vehicle. The age for this varies across different provinces/ territories, so the best course of action is that, if you have had even just one drink, it's best not to drive.

As a parent, what can I do to prepare my child for the youth crime and victimization issues they will be faced with?

When it comes to youth crime and victimization issues, it is important to ensure that the line of communication between you and your child/children remains open. Maintaining a constant informal dialogue with them will ensure that they feel comfortable approaching you if any issues surface. It is easier to understand and help them through their day-to-day issues when they feel comfortable speaking with you. Remember not to judge them, to remain open-minded and to be thankful that they are opening up to you.

If a topic ever requires emergency action, please contact your local police as soon as possible.

What are some issues that I should be talking about with my youth?

Drugs and alcohol:

Be sure to educate them on the serious and long-term consequences of substance use. Remind them that there are legal and social consequences to these behaviours, and that their effects may lead to implications that last a lifetime. To learn more about drugs and alcohol and how they can affect someone's life visit our Drugs and Alcohol fact sheet.

Also, ensure that they are aware of the consequences of impaired driving. Encourage them to never get into a vehicle with someone who is impaired.

Relationships and Friendship:

Friendships and relationships are a big part of growing up. It's important that your child knows how to surround themselves with people who will have a positive influence in their lives. Try to get to know who your child is spending his or her time with. Invite them over to your place. Teach your children the importance of having a supportive network of friends.

Furthermore, try to recognize the warning signs that your child may have unhealthy relationships with peers, friends or partners.

Take a look at our Dating and Relationship Violence and Bullying fact sheets for more information.

What can I use to protect myself when I am out jogging or walking alone at night?

Bring a friend along with you! Instead of running solo, create a friendly competition between friends, especially at night.

Make sure to keep your phone with you at all times and have it readily accessible, in case of an emergency. Most phones can also be used as a flashlight if needed. If you are listening to music be sure that the volume is at a reasonable level so that you are still aware of your surroundings.

Before heading out, let someone know where you will be going and at what time you expect to be back. It is always best to go during the day (with natural day light), but if you decide to go out at night, then be sure to stay in well-lit areas.

I'm considering a career in law enforcement; where should I go for more information?

Go to the RCMP.ca website to find out more about possible job opportunities and for information on recruitment to become a police officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

For those who are students and are in high school, CEGEP, college or university you can also look for employment using the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) website.

I'd like to volunteer my time to make my community a better place. Where should I start?

In most cases RCMP volunteers have to be 19 years old.

Check to see if your province or territory has an Auxiliary Constable Program. This volunteer program encourages community members to play a positive role in their communities after being trained by the RCMP.

Visit the RCMP website to determine what volunteer opportunities are available to you in your province/ territory!

What can I do to make my community a better place?

Visit our "Get Involved" page to find out what you can do to get involved in crime prevention initiatives and make your community a better place!

How can I stay connected to the RCMP?

If you are trying to stay connected with the RCMP, be sure to add us on social media!

Also stay in the loop with our news feed and special features section.

If you can't find the answer to your question, feel free to use our web form to contact us.